• Monday, April 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

Okuama killings: Rights group raises concern over military occupation of community

Urhobo groups say won’t participate in military-led board of inquiry

…demands withdrawal of soldiers

Human Rights Protection Congress (HRPC) has expressed concern over the fate of civilians trapped in Okuama community following the continued occupation of the military.

The HRPC also known as the Citizens Rights Concern Enhancement Initiative (CRCEI), also called for the immediate withdrawal of soldiers from the community to enable the facilitation of aid to the needy population.

Read also: Senate probes killing of military  personnel in Delta State

Edewor Egedegbe, the leader of the group, called for the institution of a high-powered panel to thoroughly investigate the remote and immediate causes of the bloodbath in the community.

According to him, “Okuama community, we were told is under military siege in a worrisome situation like we have found ourselves. What is the plight of women and children in that agrarian community? Do they still have their right to freedom in such a situation under armed conflict?

“When a community is razed down in a vengeful manner by the military as we saw in Odi (Bayelsa State) some years ago, women and children are left vulnerable and this is our concern.

“We are calling on the local, state and federal governments to send relief materials to the vulnerable in that area.

Continuing, he said, “In a peacekeeping mission, the primary stakeholders must be present; why were traditional rulers, president generals from both communities not there to talk to their people?

“The police and the DSS were conspicuously absent in the military peacekeeping efforts, and this is not the best practice.

Read also: Delta killings: We won’t allow the innocent to suffer — Oborevwori

The land dispute between the two communities is age-long and all hands must be on deck to resolve it certainly, the military is not and shouldn’t have been an option, he stated.

Already, some buildings in the Okuama community have been razed down by persons yet to be identified following the gruesome murder of troops said to have gone to the community on a peace mission.