50 Allegedly Killed in Reprisal Attacks By Nigerian Soldiers in Bayelsa State


50 Allegedly Killed in Reprisal Attacks By Nigerian Soldiers in Bayelsa State

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Story by Truth Nigeria

(Abuja) As reported by News Post TV, an anonymous youtuber has fingered an operative of a feared billionaire and repentant pipeline vandal known as “Tompolo,” as the mastermind behind the killing of 16 soldiers in Okuama community in Ugheli south LGA of Delta state on Thursday, March 14.

Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo , the formal name of Tompolo, is a former commander of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta[2] , a former leader of a large oil-theft gang, and the chief priest of the Egbesu deity, which is the Niger-Deltan god of war.

According to the narrative by the youtuber, a man identified as “Patrick,” a community leader in Okoloba, and a close associate of Tompolo, laid a blockade against Okuama community along the River Niger creek in an attempt to prevent them from passing through the waterways. Some Okuama men attempted to pass through the water way in February and were attacked and killed by men in army uniform suspected to be Patrick and his boys.

Okuama citizens retaliated, which triggered intervention by the Nigerian Army.

The Nigerian soldiers also allegedly invaded Igbomotoru 2 in Bomo-Ibe Clan of Bayelsa State in the early hours of Sunday (March 17, 2024) killing more than 50 people, but the Army has rebutted the accusation.

In Nigeria’s south-south state of Bayelsa, Such reprisals have a history of precedents. Local peoples, including the Ijaw tribe, who have revolted against government exploitation of the oil reserves, have endured suppressed by the Nigerian military for 25 years. “The involvement of the military in internal security has worsened the problem of insecurity due to the military’s unprofessional approach and, at times, deliberate targeting the civilian populace which it is supposed to protect,” according to Segun Joshua and colleagues at Covenant University in 2021

Community Leader Accuses Military of Extrajudicial Murder
The motive for this latest carnage, according to a publication by Leadership, has been linked to an intelligence report received by the military on the whereabouts of the alleged leader of the group that killed 16 soldiers on March, 14 2024 at Okuama community as reported by TruthNigeria. The Director of the Army’s Public Relations, Onyema Nwachukwu in a statement, said “the reports were a clear indication that the murder of the troops was a communally orchestrated attack against legitimate forces.”

The President of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Dr. Alaye Theophilus, accused the military of wanton, extrajudicial killings in a statement issued on Wednesday March 20, 2024.

“We will also draw your attention to the onslaught going on in one of our Ijaw communities in Bayelsa State, Igbomotoru 2 in Bomo-Ibe Clan where the Nigeria military invaded the community at early hours of Sunday March 17, 2024.

“They opened fire on innocent men, women and children. They killed over 40 people and still counting, without any form of provocation.

“As a council, we condemn what the military is doing in Igbomotoru 2 community,” wrote Theophilus.

“What is happening in this community is purely a humanitarian crisis. As we speak, they have held every member of the community hostage as there is no entry or exit to the community. People are now starving to death,” Theophilus went on to write.

Criminal History of Tompolo
On June 27, 2009, the late President Umaru Musa Yaradua granted him and his co-militants full amnesty.

But later in January, 2016, Nigeria’s federal high court in Lagos summoned Tompolo to appear in court to face charges of alleged bombing of major oil and gas installations in communities in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South-West Local Government Area, Delta State.

Tompolo failed to obey the court order and all efforts by the federal government to arrest him failed. In August, 2022, President Muhammadu Buhari’s government awarded him a pipeline surveillance contract valued at N48 billion.

The deal was described as a “renewal,” because Tompolo got a similar deal during the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

Murder of Soldiers Claimed as Error of Mistaken Identity
Confirming the narrative of the anonymous Youtuber, a native of Okuama who identified himself as “Okerebor Jones” told TruthNigeria that the killing of the soldiers was a case of mistaken identity.

“Last month (February), Tompolo’s right-hand man, Patrick, and his boys, dressed in military attire, attacked a commercial boat carrying some Okuoma-community boys, namely Igho and company, killing many of them. Patrick allegedly wrote to the Joint Task Force (JTF), saying that the slain Okuama boys were criminals.
said Jones to TruthNigeria.

“Last week, a man named Anthony Aboh from Okoloba community went missing,” Jones went on to say. “His relation from Okoloba community, an Honorable member, suspected that that it was the Okuoma community youths that kidnapped him to retaliate for the attack, which was carried out on the Okuoma community boys, so he reported the matter to the Bomadi JTF. Just before he reported, the body of Anthony Aboh was discovered floating on River Forcados at Ayakoromor community. His hands were tied, and he had been beheaded. This annoyed the Okoloba community,” Jones said.

“The Honorable member and some delegates from Okoloba reported the discovery to the JTF, who then stormed Okuoma community on March 14, 2024 in the company of the Honorable member. On reaching Okuama, they met with the chairman and elders of the community in their town hall, and they brought up the case of the slain Anthony Aboh with the community leaders. The chairman and elders denied knowing anything about the death of Aboh,” Jones said to TruthNIgeria.

“Then the soldiers attempted to arrest the community leaders, and that was where the crises erupted. Information got to the Okuama leaders that fake soldiers had come to terrorize the community, and when they turned up there, there was an argument between them and the soldiers,” according to Jones. “The soldiers fired shots, leading to a shoot-out between them and the local people. During the exchange of gunfire, most of the soldiers were killed. It is purely a case of mistaken identity,” Jones said.

“The next day, [March 15] the soldiers came back with reinforcements. They came with gunboats and various types of weapons, and this time they killed a lot of people before they burned down all the houses in the community.

President Bola Tinubu expressed condolences to the families of the fallen soldiers in a published statement on March 17, without acknowledging any abuses or missteps by the Nigerian military. Vanguard reported Wednesday (March 20) that there are “rumors” that the army will put up barracks on the rubble of Okuama.