Nigeria: The Wrath of the Masses

Featured image: map of Nigeria and the Delta State

On Thursday, last week, a dispute on land between people from Okuama, Ughelli South, and Okoloba, Bomadi, in Nigeria’s southern state of Delta, took place. The armed forces of the old State tried to intervene but received what they did not expect.

The soldiers were responding to a call during fighting between some people connected to two rival factions of the feudal landownership. According to local media reports, there have been clashes repeatedly over land ownership in recent weeks, leaving several people dead. One man was abducted during that fighting, with the Nigerian military unable to get the man released.

It is not unusual that soldiers are sent to resolve conflicts in countryside, which often erupt over land or compensation for oil spills by energy companies in many Delta state communities.

But this time things went somehow different than usual. It is reported that when the soldiers from the 181 Amphibious Battalion, responded to a distress call and appeared at the scene, they were surrounded by the local youth and killed at the spot. Among the dead were a commanding officer, two majors, one captain and 12 soldiers.

An investigation has been opened and “a few arrests have been made while steps [are] in place to unravel the motive behind the attack,” Defense Headquarters spokesman Brigadier General Tukur Gusau said in a statement.

It has been reported, that the masses have now fled the area when the army was sent in to recover the mutilated corpses and to take revenge – houses were set ablaze.

This incident shows once more the hatred the masses feel towards the ruling big-landlord-bureaucratic system and their repressive forces and on the other hand the impotence of these to prevail the old order, as an expression of the deep crisis imperialism is sinking in.

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