March 31, 2021

Massacre in Ebonyi: Priest, 17 others killed by herdsmen

armed herdsmen

Armed herdsmen

Armed herdsmen

…Those killed were about 18 including a Priest —Community member

…We can only confirm 6 dead —Police

…As Enugu CP orders full scale investigation into Adani killings

…killings by herdsmen provocative—Ohanaeze

…Umahi visits affected communities expresses sadness

By Anayo Okoli, Peter Okutu & Ikechukwu Odu

Barely twenty-four hours after eight people were killed in Adani, Uzo -Uwani Local Government Area  of  Enugu State, by gunmen, a Methodist priest  and 17 other indigenes of Egedegede, Obegu and Amuzu communities in   Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, were on Monday evening, gruesomely killed by rampaging herdsmen who invaded the communities.

The car belonging to the Methodist priest was also burnt by the herdsmen. But the police  in Ebonyi  said only six people were killed.

The Ebonyi attack came as the Commissioner of Police, Enugu State Police Command, Mohammed Ndatsu Aliyu, yesterday, ordered full scale investigation to unravel the circumstances which led to the violence that claimed   lives at Adani, Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu on Sunday night.

The Ebonyi incident came as a shock to the indigenes. While a resident  who did not want his name in print said 18 persons were killed by the herdsmen in Ishielu, another resident said 10 persons were killed.

“We are mourning, we are in serious mourning since late hours of Monday. Herdsmen invaded our communities and massacred our people. As we speak, 18 persons were slaughtered like animals. They matcheted many of our people, burnt vehicles, motorcycles and looted our properties,” the resident said.

Chairman of Ishielu Local Government Area, Sunday Eze, and Commissioner for Business Development in the state, Dr. Stephen Odo, who hails from the local government, led a team of security agents to the communities and condoled the families of those killed in the invasion.

They assured that government would take proactive measures to investigate the  attack.

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Loveth Odah, confirmed the incident but said only six people were confirmed dead.

She said:  “The Commissioner of Police  delegated a team of policemen for  on-the- spot assessment because of peace talks going on in the town. So, the Commissioner of Police delegated the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Operations and others who went for on-the-spot assessment to enable us get the details of the report. They are yet to come back.”

Reacting to the killings yesterday, visibly angry Governor Dave Umahi, who visited the affected communities, said local herdsmen in the areas who the state government had an understanding with, committed the havoc.

He said those who migrated to the area were convinced to leave, adding that the killings took place after they had left.

”We feel so sad that this kind of thing should happen in our state.  I am going to escalate this to the highest authorities in the country to ensure these people don’t get away with this,” the governor stated.

In another development, following  the unabated killings and destruction of properties in Effium and Ezza-Effium communities in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, Governor David Umahi, yesterday said the stakeholders arrested in connection with the crisis would remain in detention until peace returned to the area.

The governor, who stated this during the second round of meetings to resolve the issue, which started on Monday at the Christian Ecumenical Centre, Abakaliki, warned that if the killings continued, his administration would charge those indicted for murder.

He visited the war-torn communities yesterday and assured them of government’s commitment towards ensuring lasting peace in Effium and Ezza Effium in the state.

Umahi also visited Ishielu LGA to ascertain the current situation of the recent killings  and condole with the families of the deceased

He said: “The killings should stop from today; if it continues, I will hunt for the leaders and charge them for murder. Enough is enough. You have a lot to lose if the crisis continues. You can’t call for genocide against the people. The ring road project maybe delayed if the crisis continues.

“When you  see  evil, you have to speak out. I commend those of you who have done that. I’m pleading with you, I am begging you. There’s a way you will continue to kill, the state will rise against you. I feel so sad. Let us stop this killing..I have no money to rebuild houses. If I  am to do that, it will be in Ezza – Ezilo. The people we are holding, we will continue to hold them.”

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The meeting ended with a strong commitment by both sides, Effium and Ezza Effium, to live together in peace as they apologized to themselves and to the state government for the carnage that took place in their respective communities.

“We want to apologize to the state government for the crisis in our communities. We promise to live together in peace. We say no  to crisis and war.”

Enugu CP orders full scale investigation

On the killing in Adani, Enugu State commissioner who visited the scene of violence with heads of sister security agencies in the state  on Monday for an on-the -spot-assement of damages, assured that his men would collaborate with other security agencies in the state to forestall further occurrence.

Spokesman of the command, Daniel Ndukwe, said in a statement that the police commissioner equally called on the members of the community to eschew violence and be their brothers’ keepers.

The statement read: “The Commissioner of Police, Enugu State Command, CP Mohammed Ndatsu Aliyu, in the early hours of March 29, 2021, led a team of heads of sister security agencies in the state and the  executive  chairman of Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area to Adani community, for on-the-spot assessment of the acts of violence allegedly perpetrated in the wee hours of March 28, 2021, by yet to be identified hoodlums, which led to the death of six persons and gunshot injuries on two others, as well as the burning down of some shops and destruction of properties.

“The Commissioner, while calling for calm, has ordered the State CID to conduct tacit investigation to identify and bring the perpetrators of the unfortunate incident to book.

“He further reassures of the commitment of the command to collaborate with sister security agencies and relevant stakeholders in the community, to avert a recurrence  of the violence. He also pleads with members of the  community to be their brothers’ keeper and eschew acts of violence, even as the Police meticulously investigate the case.

“In his remarks, the executive chairman of the local government area, Chukwudi Celestine Nnadozie, thanked the Police and other security agencies for the quick intervention which helped in restoring normalcy in the area. He  specially thanked the CP and heads of other security agencies for embarking on the trip, noting that it would further help to restore a sense of confidence  in the people of the community.

“Heads of sister security agencies that accompanied the Commissioner of Police are Mr. Brown Ekwoaba, State Director, DSS, Enugu State;Mr. Valentine Afrika, Commandant, NSCDC, Enugu State Command; and Mr. Abdul Abdullahi, State Commander, NDLEA, Enugu State.”

killings by herdsmen provocative —Ohanaeze

Reacting to the killings in Enugu and Ebonyi states yesterday, the Chidi Ibeh-led faction of Ohanaeze Ndigbo describing the development as provocative and urged members of the Eastern Security Network, ESN, and all the vigilante groups in Igbo land to chase away all killer herdsmen from the SouthEast.

He said the killings at Adani Uzo Uwani in Enugu State were a confirmation of earlier warning by the United States Embassy that bandits ravaging the north were heading towards the south to disrupt peaceful territories and unleash violence, especially in the South-East.

Ibeh in a statement, lamented that people of the South East no longer sleep with their two eyes closed.

The statement read:  “The people  of the Southeast now sleep with their eyes wide open as untold panic had enveloped the air.

“We don’t know when Nigerian security officials will start carrying out Buhari’s presidential order to shoot at sight, anyone parading with AK47.

“With the recent incident in Uzouwani in Enugu State, Ohanaeze Ndigbo urges Igbos to defend themselves against terrorism and violence from killer herdsmen.

“Whether it is ESN or forest guards or local hunters or community vigilante groups, we are ordering them to curb the menace, using Igbo formula of defense.

“This is a clarion call for Ndigbo, to realize that herdsmen are  coming in their thousands to destabilize the South-East and the South-South. These are killers   sponsored by external detractors of Igbos to ensure that there are disruption of farming activities and cause  food insufficiency in the southeast so that Igbo will always depend on the north for food supplies.

“We cannot afford to allow northern bandits  succeed in the southeast. Southeast governors should give Ndigbo  a regional security  outfit to meet the insecurity  challenges in the southeast”, the group said.

Vanguard News Nigeria