Mother, children missing as herdsmen in army uniform invade Edo community

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Suspected herdsmen dressed in military uniform on Monday invaded a farming community, the Second Abumere Ojigbelu Camp in Ovia Northeast Local Government Area of Edo State.

The armed herdsmen allegedly displaced the villagers, preventing them from accessing their farms and homes.

Our reporter learnt some of the displaced villagers are taking refuge in other communities near Okada, the council’s headquarters.

One of the victims, Mr. Mattu Alli, who hails from Taraba State, said: “In fact, I am short of words to explain what I witnessed in our community.

“Members of my family and I have been farming in the community in the last 20 years.

“I was in my compound with my family members having good time, when we started to hear the sound of guns, and people running to different directions.

“I saw a Benin man running towards my compound. I asked him where he was running to and he disclosed that herdsmen had taken over the village, chasing people from their houses.

“So, I called my wife and we also had to run for our lives. I did not see my children as we ran to different directions. As I speak with you now, I do not know the whereabouts of my wife and children.

“Another thing that put fear in our minds is that one of the herdsmen pointed gun at me and said they were for peace, but they would only kill us if we refuse to allow their cows to feed on our crops.

“He added that our tubers of yam, cassava and other crops that we had were for their cows, declaring that If we touched their cows, they would kill everybody in the village. For us to be safe, we had to run to the next community.”

Another victim, Mr. Sunday Chimen, a farmer, said he had been farming in the village for over 20 years.

He said: “What we saw surprised us. Suddenly, we heard gunshots and people were running.

“We later discovered that herdsmen had taken over our community with AK-47 rifles and threatening to kill us, if we did not cooperate with them.

“For us to be alive, we decided to run for our dear lives, leaving our property, with our children also running to unknown places.

“We are calling on the security agencies to come to our aid, as our community is under siege.”

One of the affected women, Mrs. Ngozi Chimen, said the activities of the herdsmen had been ongoing in their community for the last two months.

She said the herdsmen use plantain from the farms to feed their cows.

“The criminal herdsmen chased us from our farms. You dare not look at their faces. Many of them were in army uniform.

“We need help, especially from security agencies and the three tiers of government,” she said.

Edo Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Bello Kontongs, a Superintendent of Police, said he was yet to be briefed about the incident.

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