Fulani Herdsmen Threaten Abia Villagers over Missing Cows
Some Fulani herdsmen have caused the people of Okporenyi village in Bende community, Bende Local Government Area of Abia State, in the South East Nigeria, to go into hiding, after they threatened attack over missing cows.
A Police source told our Correspondent that some Fulani herdsmen had threatened to attack the village soon if their cows, allegedly stolen by the villagers, were not produced.
According to a member of the village, trouble started on the eve of Christmas when a group of herdsmen stormed the village, threatening to raid the village if they failed to locate their missing cows.
The source said after the warning, the herdsmen at the wee hours of the following day, invaded farmlands in the village with their flock, destroying a lot of crops in the process. It was gathered that farmlands in the village had come under incessant attacks by cows of the herdsmen while complaints by the villagers had fallen on deaf ears.
The source added that after a few days, the herdsmen came to the village again, this time with some policemen, alleging that they were searching for one of their cattle bearers, a young boy.
The source said an attempt by one of the villagers, simply identified as Onyi, to exonerate the village from any involvement in the whereabouts of the allegedly missing boy, earned him the wrath of one of the herdsmen, who attacked him with a machete, opening a cut on Onyi’s upper arm despite the presence of the police.
The source said the Police did not however take it kindly with the invader as he was seriously upbraided.
According to the source, the villagers are now living in fear of imminent raid by the herdsmen, who had attacked some communities in the Middle Belt as well as part of Enugu State in recent times over grazing land.
The source said it was unthinkable for landlords to live in dread of strangers in their own land, and appealed to the Abia State Government to quickly come to their aid.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr.Geoffrey Ogbonna, confirmed the incident, but said, “Police are on top of the situation.”
The PPRO said talks had been initiated with both parties with a view to resolving the face-off. He assured the villagers of full protection of their lives and property, advising them not to take the laws into their hands.