From Jude Chinedu, Enugu
Gunmen suspected to be herders have killed at least six persons including a pregnant woman in Mgbuji and Ebo autonomous communities in Eha-Amufu, Isi-Uzo local government area of Enugu State.
Several houses and motocycles were said to have been burnt while many residents of the communities are still missing in the attack which affected seven farm settlements in the two communities.
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It was learnt that the youths of the communities had a few weeks ago chased some herders out of their farms for allegedly allowing their cows to destroy hectares of cassava plantation.
Some cows were said to have been killed during the incident, causing the herdsmen to launch a reprisal.
Some community leaders, who spoke on condition of anonymity said the herdsmen invaded the settlements at about 3pm on Thursday with AK-47 rifles and shot indiscriminately.
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“After soldiers left the community for about four days, the Fulani herdsmen launched the attack on Thursday. When we heard rumours that they were preparing to invade our communities, we promptly alerted the police and the military.
“What we don’t know is why all the soldiers deployed to the settlements were withdrawn. I must tell you that except one soldier from the South-South, all the soldiers deployed to the community were northern Muslims. On one of the occasions, they even opened fire on our local vigilantes who were patrolling the settlements to repel attacks by the invaders.
“So, the herders came in full force and killed many people and burnt houses and properties. More than 20 motorcycles and houses were razed, and they have promised to come back. We have reported the incident to the appropriate authorities to intervene. There is high tension here. As we speak, we have recovered bodies of six people that were killed and so many are missing.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Information, Mr Steve Oruruo, who confirmed the incident revealed that government has deployed security agents to the affected communities
However, efforts to get the reaction of the state police command were unsuccessful as its spokesman, Daniel Ndukwe, did not respond to text messages sent to him.