Tension in Kogi Community over Alleged Killing of Five Herdsmen

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Ibrahim Oyewale in Lokoja

Palpable fears may have enveloped Oforachi community in Igalamela/Odolu Local Government Area of Kogi State over the death of five herdsmen who were reportedly killed in a reprisal attack after a herder allegedly killed a farmer in the area on Sunday.

A farmer, Mr. Godwin Egbunu Omale, was said to have gone to his farm on the fateful day and he was shocked to meet herdsmen and their cows destroying his farm.

Omale was said to have quickly rushed back to inform the police and his people that herdsmen have destroyed his farm.

A police officer was immediately detached to follow Omale and some of his people to confirm the damage on his farm.

Eye witness account stated that while returning, the herders were said to have laid ambush on the the farmer who was bringing the policeman to arrest them.

As they moved closer, the herders allegedly opened fire on the farmer and killed him instantly.

The development forced the police and members of the deceased family to run for dear lives.

Apparently angered by the killing of the farmer, youths were said to have mobilised themselves for a reprisal attack which did not succeed.

However, the herders laid claim that four of their members were killed in retaliation, while the police authority said it could not stop the killing of the farmer because the officer was not armed.

A community leader, Mr. Isaac Ina, who confirmed the incident, stated that members of the community could no longer sleep, rather they have been keeping vigil to curtail any form of reprisal attack from the herders.

He explained that before arrival at the scene of the incident the herders have ran into bush.

“The herders later told the police that they have not seen four of their men. They claimed that they might have been killed by irate youths. But when the police asked them for the whereabouts of the corpses they could not show the police,” he said.

Communities like Ogbogbo, Odolu and Akpanya that share borders with Oforachi are now living in fear over possible reprisal attack.

Kogi State has witnessed different attacks in many communities in the last five years, with Tarawi and Oforachi being the latest.

Early this year, gunmen suspected to be herdsmen attacked and killed no fewer than 19 people in Tawari community in Kogi Local Government Area of Kogi State, burning buildings, including the palace of the king of the community.

However, the Public Relations Officer, Kogi State Police Command, Mr. Williams Anya, could not be reached to confirm the development.