• Saturday, April 13, 2024
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Senate grills service chiefs in closed-door meeting over killing of soldiers

The Senate Joint Committee on Defence, Army, Navy and Air Force held a tense meeting behind closed doors on Wednesday with Nigeria’s top military brass to investigate the recent killing of 17 soldiers in Delta State.

Lawmakers demand answers

The somber session, which began at 3:42 pm, saw senators grill Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Christopher Musa, Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Hassan, and Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla.

The meeting came after a bloody attack last Thursday on a peace-keeping mission by troops of the 181 Amphibious Battalion to Okuoma community in Delta’s Bomadi Local Government Area. The ambush resulted in the deaths of a Commanding Officer, two Majors, one Captain, and 12 soldiers.

Senate pledges support, demands justice

Committee Chairman Senator Ahmad Lawan, who also heads the Senate Committee on Defence, led the investigative hearing. He emphasized the gravity of the attack and the Senate’s unwavering support for the Armed Forces. Lawan stressed the need for increased resources for the military while condemning the killings as “barbaric.”

The Senate, he added, has mandated the immediate apprehension and prosecution of those responsible. Senator Lawan urged Nigerians to support the military by providing information to aid in capturing perpetrators of insecurity across the country.

Manhunt intensifies

Meanwhile, military sources report an intensified search for the killers. Unconfirmed reports claim some Bayelsa State government officials close to a prime suspect have gone into hiding, with the suspect believed to be a key ally of prominent Bayelsa figures.

Troops had previously stormed Igbomotoru, the suspect’s hometown in Bayelsa, in a fruitless search. However, at least three suspects have reportedly been arrested in Port Harcourt and taken to Army headquarters in Asaba.

Bayelsa governor condemns attack

Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri strongly condemned the killings in a press release, calling them “barbaric, satanic, and criminal.” He vowed to bring all perpetrators to justice.