.Niger Attacks: Villagers act as informants to bandits — Senator Musa

•Abia govt begin relocation of traders after the attack

•Igbo should stop killing Northerners in S-East —Northern Coalition

•Killed cows belong to Igbo, traders are Igbo —Sources

• Efforts on top gear to track invaders of Abia cattle market —Police

By Ugochukwu Alaribe, Steve Oko & Ibrahim Hassan, UMUAHIA

Bandits on Tuesday night attacked the new Abia cattle market in Omuma Uzo, Ukwa West council area.

The cattle dealers had relocated to the area following the demolition of the Waterside cattle market along Ikot Ekpene Road, Ogbor Hill.

Though reports of the attack are still sketchy, it is feared that some cow dealers and their cows may have been killed in the attack.

The patron of the Cattle Dealers Association, Alhaji Musa Iheakaram, who confirmed the incident, said they are still trying to get the details of the incident.

Contacted, Abia State Government said it has commenced immediate relocation of traders after the market was invaded by yet-to-be-identified gunmen on Tuesday night.

Eight persons according to the government, were feared dead during the invasion that reportedly left some persons wounded while their wares were also damaged.

The motive of the attackers is yet to be ascertained.

Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Dr Eze Chikamnayo who strongly condemned the attack, said the state government would stop at nothing in ensuring that the perpetrators were brought to book.

He said that besides immediate relocation of the traders, the Government was also working out compensation for the victims.

The Commissioner who said the State Government would take care of the medical bills of the injured traders, condoled with the family of those killed during the attack.

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“On  Tuesday, 15th February 2022 at about 11:35 pm, some yet to be identified hoodlums allegedly invaded traders at the New Cattle Market located in Omumauzor, Ukwa West Local Government Area of our Dear State.

“Government responded swiftly by mobilising the various security agencies to the scene that night to secure the lives and properties of the innocent traders and fish out the assailants. 

“This was followed by a high powered team made up of the Chief of Staff, Prof ACB Agbazuere, Hon Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, Honorable Commissioner for Homeland Security, Chief Sopuruchi Bekee, Executive Chairman of Ukwa West LGA, Chief Okey Kanu in the company of the State Commissioner of Police, CP Janet Agbede.

“We are shocked and saddened by this mindless and barbaric act of violence that claimed the lives of innocent citizens of our great country and we totally condemn this dastardly act together with its wicked perpetrators.

“We are working assiduously to provide succour to the families of the victims. Those who sustained injuries are currently receiving medical attention. We have equally started the immediate relocation of the traders while working out compensation for lost properties. We shall leave no stone unturned to ensure that the evil perpetrators are brought to justice. 

“We urge all citizens of our great country in Abia State to remain law-abiding and promptly report any suspicious movements to the appropriate authorities.”

Igbo should stop killing northerners —CNG

Meantime, the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has reacted to the recent attack, saying it is another attempt by the Igbo to cause greater conflict in the country by goading the North into reacting in kind.

Suleiman Abdulaziz; spokesman of the CNG, in a statement, said the state government must act quickly to bring the culprits to book and warned that the North would no longer tolerate unwarranted attacks on its people living as minorities in the South East or any other part of the country.”

Cows belong to Igbo —Source

A source however said most of the cows were owned by Igbo and some of the victims were Igbo, adding that it has nothing to do with ethnicity.

“The cow business is not exclusive to northerners. Igbo own cows and herd cows too and are also butchers. This is not about the north and the Igbo”, the source concluded.

Efforts on top gear to track  invaders  —Police

The Abia State police command said efforts were on top gear to track those behind the midnight raid.

Police Public Relations Officer PPRO, in Abia, Mr Geoffrey Ogbonna told Vanguard in Umuahia that the Commissioner of Police, CP Jenet Agbede had visited the scene of the incident with top officers and other security agencies to tackle the situation.

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