Ebonyi Massacre: Attack capable of causing civil war — Umahi

Abakaliki- Last Monday, March 29, residents of Amaezu, Nkalaha, Obegu and Umuhuali communities in Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State were preparing to have their dinner. Some had even finished theirs and were about to retire to bed. All of a sudden, sounds of gun shots rented the air and everybody started running helter-skelter.

The attackers were armed with cutlasses and AK-47 rifles. They were herdsmen on a mission to kill the entire members of the four communities. By the time the dust settled the following morning, more than 15 corpses were picked up.

Members of the communities now live in fear as a shocked Governor David Umahi declared that such attack was capable of degenerating into another civil war if nothing urgent was done of stem the tide of criminality by the rampaging herdsmen.

One of the survivours claimed that apart from the 15 corpses that were counted immediately after the incident, more victims of the affected communities were still discovered within and around the area.

The herdsmen who attacked the communities were said to have been evicted by the communities some time ago for alleged destruction and theft of their farm produce in the area.

Survivors narrate their ordeals

A survivor of the attack, 25-year-old Angela Osinachi, from Obeagu community, narrated her experience:

Her words: “My name is Osinachi Angela Osinachi, I am 25 years old, I’m a tailor and I’m from Obeagu-Egedegede community in the Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. It was on Monday afternoon, when some little children who went hunting in the bush rushed back home and started saying they saw Fulani people moving about in the forest in the area carrying different kinds of guns.

“Some of the elders asked them not to shut up, that those they saw could be some Forest Guards from Enugu. But that same evening, we started hearing sounds of gunshots here and there. That was when people now started running helter skelter for their lives. That night, we ran through the bush to Enugu State from Ebonyi State. Some of us even slept in the bush that night. These herdsmen killed many people and destroyed our property. They really dealt with us. So many people were killed. Government should come to our aid and give us security because these days, no one can stay here and feel secured. It’s a very sad situation”.

Another member of the affected community, 77-year-old Mrs Rosemary Ozara, who also narrated how the attack was carried out, corroborated the allegation that the herdsmen were destroying their farmlands before they were chased away.

She said: “I am a 77-year-old farmer and my name is Mrs Rosemary Ozara. I am from Obeagu-Egedegede community, Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. It was on Monday, March 29, 2021 in the evening. We, as village people were preparing to cook our dinner and some had even finished cooking and were about to sleep, when all of a sudden, we started hearing gunshots from everywhere. Then, we started running and kept running through the bushe until we got to Ehamufu in Enugu State. We just got back to this village to get some food to eat. Presently, almost all the natives have fled from the community for the sake of their dear lives, because nobody considers this community to be safe again.

“For about six years now, we would plant but could not harvest our farm produce. At each planting season, the herdsmen would uproot everything we planted and give it to their cows to feed. This had continued for awhile before we now approached them and said since you people cannot leave our crops to grow, leave our community for us. Then after awhile they left, but threatened that nobody would be in this community. They said they would deal with us and pursue us out of the community.

“About 20 persons were killed in this community excluding those from Enugu, who were traveling through the community from other cities. I don’t know how to describe the fact that we, as a people, no longer have peace of mind in this village. Now, we feel threatened, nobody is safe here anymore. We pray that Government would come to our aid and ensure that peace is restored here”, she said.

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