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Imananagha To Military: Go After Killers of Soldiers, Not Everybody In Okuoma Community

A witness to the destruction of Odi 25 years ago has warned against a similar occurrence in Okuoma, Delta State.

An indigene of Odi in Bayelsa State and former Lieutenant, Koku Imananagha, joined ARISE NEWS in an interview on Monday, to speak about the recent killings of the 16 soldiers in Okuoma community in Ughelli, Delta state.

Imananagha expressed hurt over the killings in Okuoma, mentioning how it brings back memories of a similar tragedy that happened in Odi, Bayelsa state.

“It brings about bad memories, this occurrence in Ughelli South. I am pained to hear this kind of story again, twenty five years after Odi. When this thing happened in Okuoma, my mind went back to what happened to us.”

He advised that the way this incident is handled should differ from the pattern of approach in the past, with an emphasis on holding the offenders accountable rather than the community as a whole.

“My first advice now is, as it happened to Odi, let it not be the usual pattern. Let them completely obey the command of Mr President and Commander in Chief. Go after the killers, not everybody in the community, because in Odi’s case, it was the entire community they went after. This time around, let them go after the killers. 

“The federal government should not make the same mistake by going to that community with that kind of destruction and go through the same route.”

Speaking on the different rules of engagement in the manner the military responds to instances of this nature, the former Lieutenant said that such retaliation attacks are usually peculiar to the Niger Delta, which should not be.

He urged that the rules of engagement be reviewed and applicable nationwide and not selective of the region.

“That is the problem we have. These kinds of reprisal attacks happen mostly in the Niger Delta. Selective reprisal attacks that do not go round the whole federal nation. Like North-East, North-West, South-East, these killings are going on, but it doesn’t happen there that way. But whenever it is in this Niger Delta area, the army will go after the entire community.

“The rules of engagement that are applicable to this Niger Delta, should also be applicable to every other part of the nation. If such offenses are being committed, it should not be peculiar to only South-South. The same measure that is given to us should be given to every other area.

“Federal government should change their tactics and apply some kind of humane approach. Go for the target and leave the innocent people that have managed to build their homes. I am appealing that the rules of engagement should be reviewed and going after the community should stop.”

He further added that the military needs to employ the use of modern technology in their operations, so as to avoid surprise attacks.

“These killings are becoming far too many in the nation. The military too, whenever they are going, whether you call it a peace mission or not, when you are going, go with all the instruments that you want to use. This is the modern era.. You take some technology into place. Take some surveillance around the area and that person will be reporting to the people that are there if there is going to be any attack. Instead of the military being ambushed, you ambush the guys that are coming after you and finish with them because they are coming to attack you.”

Melissa Enoch

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