Killer herdsmen on Thursday visited horror on Odiguetue community in Ovia Northeast local government of Edo State, killing five persons, and severely injuring many others. Distraught members of the predominantly agrarian community complained that they have been living in fear of the marauders who constantly unleash violence on them, forcefully taking over their farms, and feeding their crops to their cattle.
They narrated how, about four weeks ago, the fully armed rampaging herdsmen invaded the community and attacked security operatives, burning their patrol vehicle. They reportedly staged a more vicious come-back on Thursday, killing, maiming, and destroying properties. A community leader in the area, Anthony Ogie, a retired lieutenant commander, who narrated their bitter encounter with the intruders, said “for some time now, the herdsmen have been harassing us. You cannot go to the farm anymore because of them. Last week, around 7pm, they came close to the houses, shooting; but when the people came out, they went back to the bush”.
“Then on Thursday, people were on their farms when the herdsmen came and killed three people. That was in the morning. Later in the evening, they came again and killed two more, but this time, on the expressway. There is a police check point on the highway. The police saw them but didn’t do anything.
“Anytime the herdsmen come, we usually call the police and soldiers who will come, but will not go into the bush where these herdsmen have their camps, even when the villagers volunteer to lead the security men. Odiguetue is a peaceful community. How can you do this to a people who are peaceful, and who go about their normal businesses,”? Ogie queried.
Another elder in the community, John Osagiede, said he got wind of the planned attack on the community and made desperate attempts to reach the authorities but to no avail.
According to Osagiede, “When I got information that the herdsmen were going to attack Odiguetue, I tried to reach the deputy governor, but I couldn’t. Then I got in touch with an honourable, who promised to reach the AIG. The herdsmen have been tormenting the villagers. They uproot their cassava and feed the tubers to their cows.
“On Thursday, the herdsmen came and killed three people. One of the victims, when they used gun and cutlass on him and it did not work, they rammed a stick into his mouth. Later, they went and killed other people. Five people have been killed so far. This is what they have been doing to us for a long time now”, Osagiede lamented.
A 68-year-old retired staff of the University of Benin, Joseph Obuele, stated that “When the incident happened on Thursday, we told the police. I left the village yesterday, (Friday) and I am on my way back there now (Saturday evening). It was on Thursday that the herdsmen came and killed three people on their farms. Some other casualties were recorded in the neighbouring village, some three kilometres from Odiguetue.
“We informed the police. The police came and they were the ones who took the corpses to the mortuary. For now, there is no security. We are the ones keeping vigilance to ward off further attacks”, Obuele said regrettably.
The spokesman of the Edo State Police Command, Bello Kontongs, said he was yet to get details of the attack.
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