Suspected Fulani herdsmen killed five persons in Mgboji community and sacked 14 farm settlements where over 3,000 residents were living, SaharaReporters has learnt.
Some community leaders who spoke with our correspondent on Wednesday said that members of the community were no longer going to farm, fearing that people may face famine next year as a result of the situation.
They alleged that since January 2022, 16 people have been killed by Fulani militia and that hundreds of houses with property worth millions of naira have been burnt and destroyed.
According to the community members, security agencies have completely abandoned them, noting that they (security agents) only come after attacks to collect the bodies of deceased persons.
One of the community leaders, Chief Odo Egah, told our correspondent that two persons were killed on Monday and three were killed on Tuesday. “So many others that I can’t give the figure sustained several bullet injuries. So many are still missing.”
He added, “What is happening in my place is too much. These people are pure terrorists. Yesterday, soldiers and police officers went to Orie Market to carry the corpses of the people they killed.
“It was not up to 10 minutes that they left when the terrorists started shooting sporadically for several hours. They came inside the community and later left. Everybody they saw was shot. Three corpses were found on the road; the police are going to carry them.”
On the soldiers that were deployed to the community, he said “Soldiers are in the town; they are no longer in the settlement and when you call them, they will not go. On Monday, the invaders were attacking and shooting. Security personnel, including soldiers, were called several times but nobody came.
“Unfortunately, the chairman of the local government – Isi-Uzo LGA, who incidentally is from Eha-Amufu has not been seen since he was elected four months ago. When you call him, he will say he is doing something. He is from the Mgbuji community where people are massacred on a daily basis,” he lamented.
On the number of houses burnt, Egah said, “In short, in Akpuff Mgbuji old farm settlements where more than 1,000 people were living, all the houses have been completely burnt down. No single soul is living there as we speak, Fulani people have taken over. They are demolishing the houses.
“When they burn houses, they will demolish them and level the place. The same thing is happening in Obodo-Mba. In Ogbete where Orie Market is located, they have burnt many houses there. Nobody is living there again, and can’t go to the farms there. We have more than 14 farm settlements in Mgbuji but no one is living there; the Fulani terrorists have taken over.
“Nobody is doing anything and I think the reason the soldiers are in Eha-Amufu is to protect them. Because they (soldiers and police) don’t come whenever they are attacking our people.”
When asked what the community security outfits are doing about the problem, he said, “Our local security men are being killed equally. On Monday one of our local security guards was killed and they took away his gun. Fear doesn’t allow anybody to go there again. The people who are attacking our people are highly trained. I suspect they were imported there.
“Nobody from Eha-Amufu can go there now. The only thing police DPO is doing is to come and carry corpses after the attack. If you call him during the attack, he won’t come. Yesterday and two days ago when they were killing our people, we called him and he didn’t come.
“The only thing he did was to come and carry the corpses. Even when the owner of the corpse was telling him that they didn’t want to take the corpse to the mortuary and that he should give the corpse to them to bury, he refused. He carried it to the mortuary. Yesterday when they were shooting, we called him and told him that they had killed two people and that he should intervene, he told us that he would not come, that he was going to where someone had been kidnapped.
“This morning, he is going there to carry the corpses to the mortuary. He would make the family that are losing their loved ones go to the mortuary to pay money and come to his office to pay before they can bury the corpses. Anytime you call, he will tell you that he will call the Commissioner of Police before anyone is buried.
“He always insists that unless the police commissioner authorises for anyone to be buried, he will not release the corpse. You don’t come to save lives, but when the person has been killed, even when the owners of the corpses are begging you to allow them to bury them, you will refuse and carry the corpses to the mortuary.
“I can tell you categorically that the Fulani militias are operating freely on a daily basis. If they see women, they will rape them. There is a woman seven of the raped. It is not on a monthly basis; it is a daily thing. Nobody can go to the farm, even to harvest cassava. If they go there; if it is a woman, they will rape her and machete her. If it is a man, they will shoot and machete the person. Neither soldiers nor the police confront them. They have completely taken over this part of the state.”
Efforts to get the reaction of the Chairman of Isi-Uzo council area, Obiora Obeagu, were unsuccessful as he didn’t answer his calls when SaharaReporters called him. He also did not reply to a text message sent to him to seek clarification and make enquires at the time of filing this report.
Meanwhile, the State Police Command has confirmed the recent attack.
The command’s spokesman Daniel Ndukwe, who confirmed the incident in a text message, said a manhunt had been launched for the assailants whom he said were yet to be known.
Ndukwe said, “Police Operatives responded to a distress call, alleging the murder of two (2) male victims by yet-to-be-identified gunmen and some others said to be missing, at Ogbede-Mgbuji, Eha-Amufu, on 13/06/2022 at about 11.45 pm.
“The operatives took the two (2) lifeless bodies to the hospital, where they were confirmed dead by doctors and deposited in the mortuary for autopsy.
“Meanwhile, a manhunt for the assailants has commenced, while there is no report of any burnt house(s). Further development will be communicated, please.”