Armed herdsmen in Army uniform kill eight in Delta communities
• As Okowa orders army to fish out perpetrators
No fewer than eight persons mostly farmers have been allegedly killed by suspected herdsmen dressed in Army uniform in Delta.
The killing took place at Avwon, Agadama, Ohoror and other communities of Uwheru Kingdom in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State.
Sunday Tribune gathered that the armed herdsmen attacked the communities repeatedly between Thursday and Friday, killing the victims in different parts of the communities.
It was gathered late Saturday afternoon that no fewer than eight corpses were recovered by members of the communities and some military personnel who visited the communities.
Friday’s attack on the sleepy agrarian communities by the suspected herdsmen were allegedly led by gunmen in military garbs.
Although Governor Ifeanyi Okowa was said to have directed the commissioner of police to arrest the situation from degenerating, some top government officials claimed that there were more casualties than what was made public.
They said several members of the communities were still being searched for in the woods by security agencies and members of the community.
A source said, “two nights ago including last night, herdsmen killed some people as usual in their farmlands.
“The attacks usually happened in the farms and as we speak our people cannot go to their farms because the herdsmen have taken over almost all the communities. The communities are comfortably under their control.
“Many of the victims are still in the bushes and other parts of the communities. About ten of them have been recovered while others are still missing. Usually, when they kill, they wait for those that will come for the dead bodies and also kill them.
“Many of those recovered were burnt beyond recognition,” the source was quoted to have said.
Many members of the attacked communities were said to have taken cover in neighbouring communities of Ughelli, Evwreni and other places.
The state governor, Dr Okowa, who condemned the killings, urged the people of the area to remain calm.
Okowa, who confirmed the attack through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, said at least eight persons were killed in the renewed attacks in the communities.
“According to reports from the communities, herdsmen accompanied by unidentified army personnel stormed the communities in an unprovoked attack that has become an annual routine, killed no fewer than eight persons and injured many others.
“The reports revealed that the crisis started on Thursday and that as at Saturday, lives and property, including farms, had been lost,” Okowa said in the statement.
He called for restraint, saying that he had directed the Commissioner of Police and the Brigade Commander, 63 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Asaba, to urgently ensure that peace was restored to the communities.
The governor charged the Nigerian Army to investigate the alleged involvement of its personnel in the crisis and fish out the perpetrators in the unprovoked killings.
“The unwarranted attacks and killing of innocent locals in Avwon, Agadama and Ohoror communities of Uwheru Kingdom in Ughelli North Local Government Area and the wickedness of suspected criminal herdsmen alleged to be aided and abetted by unidentified military personnel are mindless.
“I, however, appeal to the affected communities to remain calm and peaceful. I commiserate with the communities and families on the unfortunate loss of their loved ones.
“I have directed the Commissioner of Police and the Brigade Commander, 63 Brigade, Nigerian Army, to rise to the occasion and bring the culprits to justice.
“As a state, our people have been very receptive to herdsmen and other visitors, but our hospitality and welcoming disposition should not be taken as an act of cowardice.
“The state government will continue to encourage peaceful and harmonious relations between Deltans and their visitors, but will not watch outsiders attack and kill our people any longer,” the governor warned.