How to end herdsmen attacks – police boss

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The gory pictures of how the assailants slaughtered of the  people of Ojuwo-Ajomaigbi in Bassa local government area of Kogi state that was attacked by rampaging Fulani herdsmen on Saturday  is inhuman and uncivilised.

Apart from slaughtering those that could not be killed by gunshot, the invaders also looted the community and carted away no fewer than 47 motorcycles belonging to the victims.

The  entire communites were said to have fled to Anyigba, Etutekpe and Ikpakpala and Ologba all in Dekina local government area and Ikende in Bassa local government area, while eight other neighbouring communities were also ghosted ones as the people especially women and children had deserted the communities.

Meanwhile, the governor of the state,Yahaya Bello, has said his administration would set up a judicial panel of inquiry to look into the attacks by the “armed bandits.” When BusinessDay visited the affected areas on Saturday, it was discovered that the Fulani herdsmen left gory scenes and
wailing after the attack and some of the victims had been given mass burial.

Newly planted cashew trees were cut down, burnt motorcycles
littered the road, while the community was completely deserted.
Speaking with newsmen during an on the spot assessment visit of the governor town Ojuwo-Ajomaigbi, a survivor of the
attack. Reuben Usman said the herdsmen invaded the community at about 7 am on Wednesday and surrounded the neighbourhood.

According to him, the assailants, who were dressed in black cloth (popularly called Jalabia) invaded the community with sophisticated weapons and started shooting sporadically and setting fire on houses in the community.

He said some of the victims were caught in the fire and burnt dead, while those that attempted to escape from their homes were shot dead.

He added that a middle-aged man was shot and dragged from his house to the main road and shattered his body.

According to Usman, the assailants scooped fuel from the motorcycle that belonged to the people and sprayed it on the buildings before they were burnt.

Another victim of the attack, Smaila Maji, said another man was butchered as his hands and legs were cut and placed on his lifeless body.

He said, “The attack took us by surprise around 8 am on Wednesday. As they entered the city they started shooting at the natives sporadically.
Our people tried to repel the attackers but were overwhelmed as they were over 500 in number. We had no option but to run for their lives as the herders continued to fire gunshots at us with sophisticated weapons like AK47. They killed about 25 of our people. They also killed about six of our people at Ogbakaka. Some are still in the hospital. They made away with foodstuffs and all valuables, physical cash and about 45 motorcycles belonging to the natives.”

Addressing the men of the Nigerian Army from the 913 battalions drafted the communities, Bello said he would set up a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the attack.

The governor said he would not fold his arms and allow the Fulani herdsmen, who he constantly referred as an armed bandit, to wipe out the people of the communities.

“The prompt information from the residents of the various villages helped a lot. The Kogi state government under my watch will not shine away from our responsibilities, that is why have taken them on the spot assessment of the event.

“As a government, we will as much as possible comfort the families, Igala kingdom and the entire Kogi state. It is most unfortunate, I want to assure the people that a judicial panel of
inquiry is underway to unravel the remote and immediate causes of the attacks, you will not be left alone in this time of grief and anguish, we are with you.”

However, Bello  also promised that  the basic amenities that had been eluding the people of the various communities would be provided to make life bearable for the people.

It was equally gathered that herdsmen continue attacks on Plateau, hit Bassa.

Speaking also  the Kogi state police command said the situation in the affected communities had been brought under control, saying normalcy was gradually returning to the area.

The Deputy Commissioner, Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Mohammed Barde, said the presence the security personnel in the area had checkmated, as he  advised the farmers and herdsmen to live together in peace and harmony.

Barde equally urged the Fulani herdsmen to stop grazing into any farm, while the farmers should stop killing their cows to allow peace
to reign in the area.