Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja
Blood flowed freely in the early hours of Wednesday when some suspected Fulani herdsmen invaded Oganeinugu community in Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi State and killed no fewer than 32 people.
Two people were also reported dead in the adjoining town of Iyale, where the people of Oganeinugu ran to take refuge. Similarly, it was gathered that another group of Fulani herdsmen simultaneously launched attacks on five other communities, Obakume, Idrisu, Ogo, Ayojeju and Ikboba, all in Omala Local Government Area, killing several people and setting their houses ablaze.
Earlier, Joshua Angulu was said to have been killed by some herdsmen while working on his farm at Abejukolo. According to reports, the man was hacked down for raising the alarm when the herders raided his farm.
The killings in Oganeinugu were said to have taken place after the herdsmen stormed the community with guns and other weapons and slaughtered residents, mostly women and children.
According to a witness, the bandits killed four people in a particular house belonging to a serving policeman, wiping out the whole family.
As at the time of filing in this report, the killings were said to be ongoing as members of the community were still running helter-skelter, making the actual casualty figures uncertain.
Investigations showed that the killings by herdsmen in Kogi increased to a frightening dimension following the blanket invitation Governor Yahaya Bello gave to all Fulani herdsmen late last year.
The governor, who was the first to embrace the proposed establishment cattle colonies, even threatened to depose any traditional ruler who failed to cooperate with the herdsmen.
Many are reportedly missing after fleeing into bushes, which makes it difficult to have a clear figure of those dead or wounded.
Meanwhile, there are reports that a new set of Fulani herdsmen/terrorists has crossed into Omala Local Government Area across the River Benue from Nasarawa State. They are said to be camped in the Obakume forest, preparing for attacks on Abejukolo, the local government headquarters, and adjoining villages.
National president of the Ife (Omala) Development Association, Dr. James Odaudu, has appealed to both the federal and Kogi State governments to take urgent steps to forestall the planned attacks.
According to him, the people are yet to recover from last year’s attacks on Bagana and other villages in the local government, which led to a number of deaths. Odaudu also appealed to the people to refrain from actions capable of breaching the peace.
The acting Commissioner of Police in Kogi State, Kuryas Monday Bala, confirmed the attacks and said his men have been drafted to the areas to forestall further killings. He declined to give the casualty figures but promised to brief the press later.