ANAMBRA HERDSMEN CRISES: Fear grips communities, controversies trail incident
There are indications that tension has enveloped the Ogboji, Ndiokpalaeze and other neighboring communities in Orumba South and North Local Government Areas of Anambra State following the statements of the leadership in the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, on the alleged killings of herdsmen and loss of cows in the territories around the communities.
This is also coming with controversies over what transpired at the scenes.
While the chairman of MACBAN South East, Alhaji Gidado Sidikki, alleged that four herdsmen were killed and many cows lost in the incident, Police sources as well as town unions in the communities said only one person was confirmed dead, while only two calves and one cow were found killed and loss of cows cannot be ascertained.
Also the location of the incident was said to be in farmlands bordering several communities and not in Ogboji town as alleged by some media reports.
Confirming the incident, Chairman of Ogboji Town Union Caretaker Committee, Mr Marcellinus Emechebe, told Vanguard that what they noticed was an invasion of the farmland by unknown gunmen who scared away vigilante groups and people around the communities on Saturday.
He said the town union executives had to call in the Police to intervene upon which they discovered that one of the herdsmen has been killed.
Another community leader in the Ndiokpalaze community who did not want to be quoted told Vanguard that the claims of the MACBAN has now sent signals to all the communities of a possible reprisal attacks on the various communities by the herdsmen, a situation which may have prompted security alerts across the communities.
On Saturday, Emechebe had reported the incident to the state government through a letter to the Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy and Town Union Affairs, stating: ‘‘Early this morning, gun shots were loud in one of the remote forest/farm land of our community.
‘‘The incident was reported to the Divisional Police Office, Umunze who was led to the scenes by our vigilante operatives. Two Hausa men joined them and investigated the scenes.
‘‘A corpse was discovered in the first scene while in the second scene two dead calf, one big cow and another with amputated leg were discovered. The Divisional Police has carried away the corpse.
‘‘Following this ugly development, there is palpable fears in the community of reprisal attacks. We are, please, requesting for support to reinforce vigilance around the community and environs.’’