“We’re dying of hunger” – Trapped Okuama residents send emergency message to Tinubu

Some residents of Okuama and some neighbouring villages Ughelli South Local Government Area trapped in forests since the killing of 17 soldiers in Delta State have sent an emergency message to President Bola Tinubu.

Recall that since March 14, the Nigerian Army commenced a clearance operation in Okuama, Omosuomo and other neighbouring communities to smoke out those suspected to have killed the officers.

The residents lamented that many are dying of hunger, and require urgent medical care in their hiding places.

The residents struggled to contact the leadership of their communities and relatives living in Warri and other cities to pass their message to President Tinubu and Governor Sheriff Oborevwori.

Meanwhile a Delta lawyer and activist, Lawrence Oseya, has faulted the decision of the Army to deny the Governor Oborevwori access to the Okuama community where the tragic incident happened.

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“Most of my relatives are still hiding in the forests because of the unfriendly military men. They have abandoned their phones and communicate strictly from person to person now,” he said.

“My uncle and cousins that escaped and would ordinarily have come to my family house in Warri could not do so as not to invite trouble for us.

The chairman of Omosuomo Federated Communities in Ughelli South, Henry Abizor has called on both state and federal governments to come to the rescue of the residents.

The letter read: “We, the peace-loving people of Omosuomo Federated Communities, from Ewu Clan in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State, unequivocally call on the government of Delta State, under the leadership of Sheriff Oborevwori, and President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Bola Tinubu to come to our aid.”

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“Most of our people remain in the bush for days running, for fear of the military coming for another operation.

“Our people are seriously in pain and psychological trauma, receiving both native and unorthodox treatments to recover from the shock.

“We condemn taking of human life, especially that of innocents. We sympathize with the families of those military personnel killed at Okuama by some criminal elements. To the innocents who died during the ugly incident at Okuama, we sympathize and pray that all the departed souls, rest in peace.

“The invasion of Omosuomo Federated Communities twice on March 20 and 24, 2024, resulted in looting of residents’ properties, money amounting to millions of naira from locked-up stores as they came in with five war boats with uniformed men, who disembarked with sporadic shootings that sent residents running for their dear lives.

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“Locked doors were broken as they searched homes and around without seeing anything they were searching for. The soldiers assembled those, who could not run away in the community town hall where the initial statement of peaceful visitation turned to mass beating, humiliation, and molestation of both the aged men and women.

“The young ones who could not take refuge in the communities were tortured to stupor. Our people are living very far from Okuama and Okoloba. We do not share land boundaries with any of these communities.

“Buildings were set ablaze, with properties worth millions of naira destroyed. This is painful and oppressive.”

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