From Molly Kilete, Abuja

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has declared eight people wanted in connection with the gruesome murder of 17 officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army on March 14 in Okuama community in Delta.

The wanted people include seven men and one woman. They were identified as Akevwru Daniel Omotegbono (Amagbem); Prof. Ekpokpo Arthur; Andaowei Denis Bakriri; Igoli Ebi; Akata Malawa David; Sinclair Okili; Clement Ikolo Oghenerukvwe and Reuben Baru.

The Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Edward Buba, made the disclosure while briefing newsmen on the operations of the armed forces across the country, yesterday, in Abuja.

Buba said the military would not allow the incident that led to the killing of 17 soldiers that were buried on Wednesday, to ever happen again.

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He urged members of the public to cooperate with the military and other security agencies with useful information to help apprehend the suspects. He said the armed forces is a force for stability that employs both kinetic and non-kinetic measures to achieve the desired end state.

“Prior to the ugly incident, the military had constructed several civic projects in Delta State as a sign of good will. For instance, the construction of Multipurpose Hall and Borehole Projects in Patani Local Government Area and Medical Outreach at Aladja Community in Udu Local Government Area, all in Delta, among several others.

“Nevertheless, troops would continue with their efforts until the culprits are found, arrested, tried, and brought to justice by Nigerian law. Citizens are our first line of intelligence and must rise to the occasion,” he said.

The 17 personnel of 181 Amphibious Battalion, comprising a Lieutenant Colonel, two Majors, one Captain and 13 soldiers, were murdered by community youths while on a peace mission to Okuama community. The slain soldiers were buried on Wednesday, at the National Cemetery, Abuja, amidst tears and agony.

President Bola Tinubu led other top government functionaries and governors as well as service chiefs to pay last respect to the fallen heroes.