Death Toll Rises To 50
As the death toll in the attacks launched by suspected herdsmen on Dekina and Omala Councils of Kogi State rose to about 50, the natives may have decided to defend themselves in the face of continuing attacks and killing of their kinsmen.
Many natives, however, remained missing after the attack on the people of Oganenigwu in Dekina Council, while yet another attack occurred in Abejukolo and Agbenema communities, with residents seen relocating in droves to neighbouring communities, such as Anyigba and Egume for fear of further attacks.
According to the source, the number of death from the invasion of Oganenigwu by the herdsmen on Wednesday was heavy on both sides, with over 200 people displaced.“As the moment, nobody can say the exact number of deaths on both sides, because many families are yet to locate their relatives,” a source said, lamenting that the presence of security agents drafted to the trouble areas was yet to checkmate the killings.
The source said as a result of the attack, other villages around Oganenigwu have been deserted for fear of reprisal attack.According Oganenigwu Community Development Association (OCDA), over 200 people have been displaced and over 50 houses burnt down by the suspected herdsmen, while people living in villages surrounding Oganenigwu have deserted their communities, taking refuge in places, such as Anyigba, Ologba, Etulutekpe and Iyale.
An eyewitness, Ojodale Philip, who is the Principal of Community Secondary School, Oganenigwu, said: “My school was under attack the herdsman or terrorist about 8:30 am, but to God be the glory, no life was lost in my school, but many people were massacred in the village. “I personally was shot at several times, but nothing happened to me. In my hands are some of the bullets that where meant to kill me.However, Governor Yahaya Bello, who was expected to visit the troubled communities on yesterday, could not make it due to circumstances beyond his control.
But he expressed shock on the attack on the Oganenigwu and nearby communities in Kogi Eastern senatorial zone.A press statement issued yesterday by the Director General, Media and Publicity to the Governor, Kingsley Fanwo, said: “The Kogi State Government ensured that the military, the police and other relevant security agencies, including members of the Kogi State Vigilante Services, were immediately mobilised to the affected areas following the initial reports.
“The violence has since been contained and brought under control. “The incident, however, remains under investigation, while efforts are ongoing to apprehend the attackers and bring them to justice.”The governor was expected to conduct on the spot assessment of the distressed communities yesterday and meet with security chiefs and community leaders, after which more information was to be disseminated to the public based on available facts.
The statement added: “The governor believes nothing compares to the sanctity of the human life and that must be protected by all who believes in humanity.“We urge the people of Kogi State to ignore the conflicting casualty and other figures thrown up by different individuals, organisations and sections of the press, as they are mostly baseless and speculative.”
Meanwhile, the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has blamed the killing of over 32 persons in Dekina and Omala Councils on the governor for openly inviting “the rampaging herdsmen and the setting up of cattle colonies without adequate security measures put in place.”
In a statement signed yesterday by Achadu Dickson, its Director Research and Documentation, the party urged Bello to explain his role in the killing, following his invitation of the herdsmen and ceding of some lands in the state for the establishment of cattle colony, amidst discontent by the people.
The PDP condemned the gruesome murder of innocent citizens by the herders, saying their action has vindicated its position from the onset that Bello’s acceptance of the establishment of cattle colonies was an invitation to anarchy.While commiserating with the families that lost their loved ones, the party called for an end to the crisis by the security agencies, noting it was one death too many in the country and would do no one any good.