From Tony Osauzo, Benin
Suspected Fulani herdsmen dressed in military uniform have reportedly invaded a farming community, 2nd Abumere Ojigbelu Camp in Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State.
They were said to have chased the villagers away and taken over their farms, homes and properties.
Some of the villagers who ran away for their lives and now taking refuge in other communities around Okada have cried out for help.
One of the victims, Mr Mattu Alli, from Taraba State while narrating his ordeal said: In fact, I’m short of words to explain what I witnessed yesterday in our community. I have been here for the past 20 years with my family farming.
‘I was in my compound with my family having a good time when we started to hear the sound of guns and people running in different directions. I saw one Benin man running towards my compound I ask him where are you running to, he said herdsmen have taken over the village chasing people away from their houses.
‘So, I called my wife and we have to run for our lives. I did not see my children every one of us ran in different directions. As I speak to you now, I don’t know the whereabouts of my wife and children.
‘Another thing that put fear into our minds is that one of the Fulani herdsmen pointed a gun at me and said look man, we are for peace, we would only kill you people if you refuse to allow our cows to feed on your crops. The yams you people have are for our cows, the cassava and all that you have are for our cows. If you people touch our cows we will kill everybody in this village. For us to be safe, we ran to the next community,’ Alli added.
Speaking in the same vein to journalists, another victim, Mr Sunday Chimen, said: ‘I have been in this village for over 20 years plus farming, what we saw yesterday surprised us. Suddenly, we heard gunshots and people running, we later discovered that Fulani herdsmen have taken over our community with sophisticated AK-47s and threatened to kill us if we didn’t cooperate with them. For us to be alive, we decided to run for our dear lives leaving our properties with our children running to an unknown place.
‘We are calling on the security agencies to come to our aid as our community is under siege”.
On her part, Mrs Ngozi Chimen, said: ‘The nefarious activities of these Fulani herdsmen have been on in our community since last two months, they enter into our farms put our plantain to feed their cows, chase us away from farms. You dare not look at their faces. Some of them are in Army uniform. Just on the 2nd of January 2022, they invaded our village and chase everybody away. We need help, we need security, we need government assistance”, she stressed.
The spokesman of the Edo State Police Command, SP Kotongs Bello, said that he has not been briefed on the development, promising to get back as soon as he finished speaking with the Divisional Police Officer in charge of the area.
He was yet to do so at press time.