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Rights Group HURIWA condemns extrajudicial killings, arson by Nigerian soldiers



Operatives of the Nigerian Army during a rescue mission

Foremost human rights group in Nigeria, Human Rights Writers of Nigeria (HURIWA) has said though it was wrong for a dozen soldiers to be murdered in Okwuama community in Ughelli Local Government Area of Delta State in southern Nigeria, the Army’s decision to kill some youths and razing of residential structures in the area, in retaliation, was a primitive and despicable tactic.

HURIWA in a statement signed and released by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, called on Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff General Christopher Gwabin Musa to call the armed soldiers to order.

HURIWA’s statement reads in part:
“We actually thought that the current Chief of Defence Staff would set the good example of being the one in power when the military as an institution puts to an end the use of reprisal and violent revenge against communities whereby soldiers are killed by hoodlums.
“Unfortunately, our worst fears have happened with reports of soldiers setting on fire all the buildings at Okuoma the crime scene whereby some officers and men of the Army were killed by gangsters.

“The reported extralegal killing of three young men of Okuoma community by soldiers on reprisal mission is absolutely intolerable, reprehensible and primitive and is hereby totally deprecated just as we are calling on the President to call the service chiefs to order so they do not continue to kill civilians upon any provocative attacks on soldiers by gunmen.

“What the rule of law demands is that those who killed those soldiers are to be arrested, prosecuted and sanctioned. But going after the entire community by setting on fire this unlucky community that is also a victim of unwarranted violence, is unconstitutional, illegal and treacherous.”

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HURIWA added that it was increasingly worried by what “is becoming the practice especially in Southern Nigeria by the Army that whenever their men are killed, the community in which this unfortunate incident occurs, usually come under unwarranted and vicious violence but it is not the same whenever similar killing of soldiers occur in Northern Nigeria.”
It could be recalled that the group had earlier condemned the killing of soldiers, describing it as insensitive, senseless, misdirected and absolutely reprehensible.

“We in HURIWA condemns in no uncertain terms, the dastardly criminal act and indeed one of the most gruesome act of terrorism, the brutal slaughtering of so many Army officers by some armed hoodlums in a part of Delta State.

“This is so tragic and despicable to put it mildly and it is hoped that all those involved in this terror attack are arrested and decisively dealt with.”

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