Suspected Fulani herdsmen on Monday invaded Obeagu community in the Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State and killed 16 persons who were between the ages of 18 and 56.
Our correspondent, who visited the scene of the incident, observed that about 10 motorcycles and a vehicle, whose owners were killed, were set ablaze.
One of the eyewitnesses, who escaped the onslaught, Ngozi Odoabuchi, described the incident as horrible.
“I went to Ishielu Local Government headquarters where I am working and after the close of work, I took motorcycle popularly known as okada from Nkalagu to my community, Obeagu. It was around 4.30pm.
The okada man is from my community; so, he took me and one other person, a lady.
“We passed Egedegede Junction and between the village and the junction, we sighted about seven men in black clothes; three were going inside the bush while four were by the roadsides.
“On getting to the point, they stopped us and took us inside the bush. Inside the bush were about 10 to 15 others. Immediately, they started beating us black and blue. While they were beating two of us who were women, they stabbed the driver with a dagger and slaughtered him in our presence.
“After killing him, they started marching on our body. So, every motorcycle that comes, they will stop it, kill every male and burn the motorcycle.”
Mrs Odoabuchi, who said she prayed for God’s intervention, noted that while she was lying down with another girl, they (attackers) left, pursuing other people.
She said they (victims) immediately ran into the bush and until Tuesday morning.
Corroborating her story, Amuche Uga, another victim who survived the onslaught, said she was coming home from Onitsha to see her parents when she got stuck in the incident, even as she thanked God she survived it.
She said, “All those who carried out the attack were Fulani. They told us that they were Fulani militias. They also told us that we should go and tell Nnamdi Kanu that they can enter any community in Igboland and carry an attack and nothing will happen.”
Another person who gave his name as Okechukwu Ebeh, alleged that the assailants were brought to the community on Monday in five unmarked Hilux vans.
“They (assailants) first attacked a young man who was returning home with his mother and wife. When he came to the village, after telling his story, our people immediately started calling people who were in Nkalagu and Eha-Amufu and other neighbouring communities to remain there until the issue was addressed.
“Unfortunately, those who didn’t get the information were mostly the victims. Others killed were people passing through the community from other states at Egedegede Junction.”
Our correspondent counted 16 corpses that were scattered in various locations where they were killed.
Speaking on the carnage, the Chairman of Ishielu Local Government Area, Henry Eze, described the incident as gruesome and called on the security agencies to fish out the killers.
A community leader, who gave his name as Oji Osondu said the offence of his community was that they dared to ask the herdsmen to leave their community.
The Ebonyi State Police Command confirmed the incident but could not verify the casualty figure.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Loveth Odah, said, “The Commissioner of Police delegated a team of policemen for an on-the-spot assessment because of peace talks going on in the town.”
Meanwhile, the State Governor, David Umahi, on Tuesday confirmed that over 15 persons were killed by suspected Fulani herdsmen on Monday.
The governor, who said the herdsmen allegedly perpetrated the mayhem with AK-47 rifles, urged security agencies to fish out the killers.
Umahi, who spoke at Obegu in the Ishielu Local Government Area of the state, said, “I got very shocking news this afternoon about the attack on about four communities of Nkalaha, Obegu, Amaezu and Umuhuali in Ishielu Local Government Area of the state by herdsmen wielding AK-47 rifles. They came yesterday (Monday) and killed 15 members of these communities.
“Good enough, we have some traces of the sponsors; we have the traces of those who came here. I will not disclose it, but I am going to escalate the identities of the people to the highest authorities and we wait to see what they will do. But we condemn this attack; if it is allowed to go this way, it is capable of generating very serious civil war among the nation of Nigeria.”
“I want to demand from the security chiefs to fish out this people because they are well known; they should fish them out. Let them face the wrath of the law.”