Relatives wept as the bodies of the 17 soldiers and officers of the Nigerian Army, slain by angry youths in Okuama Community of Delta State on March 14, 2024, arrived in Abuja for burial,Daily Trust reports.

The tragedy unfolded when troops from the 181 Amphibious Battalion, Bomadi, Delta State, were attacked while on a peacekeeping mission to Okuama, responding to a distress call amid a communal crisis between Okuama and Okoloba communities.

The fallen soldiers’ remains reached the National Military Cemetery, Abuja, at approximately 2:26 pm on Wednesday.

Among those killed were: Lieutenant Colonel AH Ali, Major SD Shafa, Major DE Obi, Captain U. Zakari, Staff Sergeant Yahaya Saidu, Corporal Yahaya Danbaba, Corporal Kabiru Bashir, Lance Corporal Bulus Haruna, Lance Corporal Sole Opeyemi, Lance Corporal Bello Anas, Lance Corporal Hamman Peter, Lance Corporal Ibrahim Abdullahi, Private Alhaji Isah, Private Clement Francis, Private Abubakar Ali, Private Ibrahim Adamu, and Private Adamu Ibrahim.

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President Bola Tinubu, accompanied by all service chiefs led by Gen. Christopher Musa and top military brass from various formations nationwide, paid their respects to the fallen heroes.

Also present were dignitaries such as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume; Minister of Defence, Abubakar Badaru; Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, and several state governors including Abba Yusuf (Kano), Sheriff Oborevwori (Delta), Usman Ododo (Kogi), Hope Uzodinma (Imo), AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq (Kwara), and Duoye Diri (Bayelsa).

Distraught family members expressed their grief, with some describing the loss as “shocking and irreparable.” Theresa Ukem, mother of late Major Obi, lamented the void left by her son, emphasizing the government’s support in facilitating the burial.

Similarly, Hanatu Hamman, mother of late Lance Corporal Peter Hamman, mourned the untimely death of her son, who was preparing for his wedding. She acknowledged her reliance on him for financial support and sought solace in God.

Ahmed Abdul, elder brother to Lance Corporal Ibrahim, spoke of the family’s devastation, highlighting his brother’s peaceful nature and calling for justice for the perpetrators.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, revealed that the deceased left behind ten widows, including three pregnant women, and 21 orphans. He assured support for the families and honored the fallen soldiers with national honors and scholarships for their children.

President Tinubu, recognizing the sacrifice of the fallen heroes, offered condolences to their families and pledged government support, including housing and scholarships. He commended their bravery and urged continued efforts towards peace and security in the nation.


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