Calls Mount for Nigerian Army to Allow Okuama Residents to Return Home

Residents of Okuama community in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State, Nigeria, are appealing to the Nigerian army to permit them to return to their homes, following the military’s operation in the area prompted by the recent killing of soldiers.

The community has been under military control for about two weeks since the brutal murder of soldiers, leading to restrictions on residents’ movement and the closure of the local market. Sources within the community report that soldiers have heavily fortified the area, blocking access roads and preventing any activities from taking place.

While it remains unclear if any residents are still trapped within the community, appeals have been made to the military to allow access for those who may be in need of essential supplies such as food and medical assistance.

“I can’t say if anyone is still in the community. But I am appealing to the soldiers to allow those inside, if any, access to food, medicals, and other basic needs,” said Onovughe, a resident of Ughelli.

Others echoed similar sentiments, emphasizing the need for the military to strike a balance between security concerns and the well-being of the community. Fejiro, a female resident, stressed the importance of restoring normalcy to the area and urged the army to implement checkpoints rather than completely sealing off the community.

“The army has been preaching civil-military relations; this is the time to demonstrate it,” Fejiro remarked. “I am pained by the loss of lives of the soldiers. It’s a sad one. The community has, however, not been declared an enemy to the country. They should allow economic life to resume there.”

The appeals come amidst ongoing efforts by the military to address security threats in the region, following the killing of soldiers in Okuama. As residents anxiously await permission to return home, hopes remain high for a swift resolution that ensures both security and the well-being of the community.

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