The people of Effium/Ezza-Effium in Ohaukwu and part of Ebonyi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State were thrown into a state of mourning and confusion, following the invasion of their communities by suspected assailants described as ‘Effium warlords’.
The attack, according to Vanguard, claimed more than 26 lives and destroyed 17 houses in the early hours of Sunday, April 10.
The affected villages include Ohagelede, Umuezeoka, Ebbiaji and Ebbeta, all in Ezza/Effium and part of Ebonyi.
During an unscheduled visit to the affected villages, people were seen in groups mourning their family members killed during the attack.
Others were busy relocating members of their families, including property for fear of further attacks by the assailants.
According to an eyewitness, Chief Daniel Nwanga from Umuezeoka village, the incident happened in the early hours of the day at Ezza villages of Ohagelede, Umuezeoka, Ebbeta and part of Ebonyi, where the alleged assailants from Effium invaded the Ezza-speaking side of the community.
Nwanga stated that the government ordered a ceasefire two weeks ago, which they obeyed, but that they never knew that their enemies would come to launch another attack against them.
He said, “In the past three weeks, the government has ordered a ceasefire in this community and we agreed to obey because we don’t disobey any order from the government.
“The assailants came in their hundreds and killed four at Ogbabruagu; another four at Ebiaji; another four at Ogbaenyigwe and came to Ebbeta and killed six.
“They went to Izzi-speaking area to trace our people and also killed eight there and burnt more than 17 houses. The incident happened on Sunday around 6 am and they kept operating till 2 pm.
“We called Army people from Nweke Ndiagu, but before they came, the gunmen had already left. We counted 26 dead bodies. Government should know that we are law-abiding citizens and should know those who committed these atrocities and those sponsoring them should be arrested and prosecuted.”
Also speaking, Mr. Moses Nwafor from Ebbeta whose wife, stepmother, grandson and younger brother were killed, stated that he didn’t know that the war was still ongoing because there was a ceasefire agreement.
He lamented the loss of four of his family members, including his wife.
“Yesterday (Sunday), I started hearing gunshots from afar. Those warlords from Effium came with machetes and guns; they killed my wife, my stepmother, my grandson and my younger brother.
“Their burial is ongoing now. Since this incident started, they have told us to respect peace talk, which we did but never knew they would come to attack us.”