The Ebonyi Police Command on Monday in Abakaliki confirmed a herdsmen attack on the Onunwakpu community of Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi which left four persons dead. ASP Loveth Odah, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), told newsmen that the dead included three natives of the community and a herdsman.
Odah disclosed that the incident had occurred when one of the victims had gone to tie down his cow inside his farm to feed it in the traditional way. She said it was in the process of this that he encountered herdsmen whose cows were also feeding inside the farm.
“We cannot ascertain what transpired between him and the herdsmen, but his shouts attracted fellow villagers who rushed to the scene to discover that his two hands had been severed. The ensuing altercation grew in intensity and security agencies immediately intervened to bring to normal the clash which also left many persons wounded. One of the herdsmen has been arrested by army personnel, and we assure the public that modalities would be put in place to ensure that such occurrence does not repeat itself. We call on members of the public not to panic over the incident and advise them not to engage herdsmen in physical fights but instead report disagreements to security agencies,” Odah added.
A native of the area where the incident occurred, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, also corroborated the account given by the police. He revealed that his kinsman (one of the victims) had gone to feed his cow inside his farm and was attacked by herdsmen.
“He had to fetch grasses for his cow to feed and was appalled that the herdsmen’s cows were feeding on his crops which he laboured to plant. We heard his shouts and when we rushed to the scene, his two hands had been severed and the clash which resulted in the deaths ensued. This is our land and we are not going to leave it for any group of people, even at the risk of our lives,” the community member said.
Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi had recently banned cows from feeding on farmlands in the state. He had also announced that various forms of punishments await farmers and herdsmen who cause trouble in the state.