Metro & Crime

Herders kill 15, injure several others in Ebonyi communities

…vehicles, motorcycles burnt, houses looted

Killings may lead to civil war, says Umahi

Gunmen, who residents called herdsmen, have killed at least 15 people at Egedegede, Obegu and Amuzu communities in Ishieleu North Development Centre, Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. Governor Dave Umahi yesterday confirmed that 15 people lost their lives in the Monday night attacks.

The governor, who ordered heads of security agencies to immediately apprehend the killers, said unabated killings might lead to a civil war in the country. Earlier, a resident of the community, who did not want his name in print, said 18 people were killed by the herdsmen.

He said: “We are mourning; we are in serious mourning since late hours of Monday. Herdsmen invaded our communities and massacred our people. At least, 18 people were slaughtered like animals. They cut many of our people with machetes, burnt vehicles and motorcycles and looted our properties.”

The resident said one of those killed was a priest of the Methodist Church whose car was also burnt. The Chairman of Ishielu Local Government Area, Hon. Sunday Eze, and the state Commissioner for Business Development, Dr. Stephen Odo, led a team of security agents to the communities and condoled with the families of those killed during the invasion. They assured the people that the government would take proactive measures and would investigate the invasion.

The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Loveth Odah, confirmed the incident. She said: “The Commissioner of Police delegated a team of policemen for an on-the-spotassessment because of peace talks going on in the town. So, the Commissioner of Police delegated them. The Deputy Commissioner of Police, Operations, and others went for the assessment to enable us to get the details of the report. They are yet to come back.

“We are still waiting for our men to come back to tell us their findings. I am already preparing a press release on the incident but their report too will assist us in giving you detailed information about it.” Meanwhile, the Governor, Umahi, said he had been able to trace the attackers and sponsors. He then ordered security agents to immediately fish out the killers to face the wrath of the law. Umahi spoke yesterday evening while addressing members of the communities. The governor, who said such killings were happening in every other part of the country, said if not checked, the killings might degenerate to a civil war in the country. The governor urged the communities not to take laws into their hands, promising that his administration would ensure that the perpetrators were brought to book.

He said: “I got a shocking news this afternoon about the attack on about four communities of Nkalaha, Obegu, Amaezu and Umuhuali in Ishielu Local Government Area by AK47-weilding herdsmen that came yesterday (Monday) and killed 15 of members of these communities.

“I remember that about a year ago, we had incident of killing of two herdsmen within this same location and immediately the security agencies, the local government chairman and the community leaders all came together to condemn the attack and the killing. We immediately asked the security agencies to fish out the people that did that and they did fish them out. As we talk, they are standing trial in Ebonyi State. The community and security agencies appeased the herdsmen and made peace with them.

“So, it is very shocking that overnight, all the herdsmen in Ishielu Local Government Area vacated Ishielu Local Government which means that the local herdsmen in Ishielu are part of the conspiracy in killing of our people. They vacated despite all efforts my government, the governors of South-East and security agencies have been making to give them full protection, not only in the state but in entire South-East. “We feel so sad that this kind of thing should happen to Ebonyi State. We feel so worried for our country Nigeria and we are short of words.

“Good enough, we have some traces of the sponsors; we have the traces of those who came here. I will not disclose it but I am going to escalate the identities of the people to the highest authorities and we will wait to see what they will do. But we condemn this attack.

It is not only happening in Ebonyi State and, if allowed to go this way, it is capable of generating to very serious civil war among the nations of Nigeria. “I want to demand from the security chiefs to fish out these people because they are well known. They should be fished out; let them face the wrath of the law. It has happened in so many places and they were not fished out and that is why this kind of thing is happening. “I want to appeal to these communities, be assured that we will get them. We have their identities, we have their connections; we have the contact. Please stay calm. Don’t take laws into your hands; two wrongs can never make a right. So, give us the opportunity to fish them out.”




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