9 Slaughtered In Renewed Ngbo/Agila War


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By Ruth Oginyi and Agnes Igwe

 

About 9 persons have been reportedly murdered with properties worth millions of naira destroyed in Ndiagu Orie, Umuogudu Akpu Ngbo community in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State in a renewed communal war between Ngbo and Agila people of Ado Local Government Area of Benue State.

However, Ebonyi State police command confirmed seven deaths in the attack.

Fifteen compounds including the compound of one Obazi Cyril were set ablaze, yam barns and over hundred domestic animals were slaughtered.

The State Commissioner of Police, Awosola Awotinde said seven persons were killed in the invasion.

It was gathered that the warlords invaded the area around 1.00p.m. on Tuesday and butchered anyone in sight in the community.

Three of the deceased including the mother of a journalist in the state, Eugene Ebenyi were beheaded, four pupils of Ndegu Orie Community Primary School were also reportedly murdered.

The correspondent of Ebonyi State Broadcasting Corporation (EBBC) attached to the wife of the Governor of Ebonyi State, Mrs. Rachael Umahi, Pauline Nwaneri lost four members of her family in the attack.

The four slain family members of Nwaneri family were buried immediately.

The attack was allegedly carried out by Agila people of Ado Local Government area of Benue State.

The attack may not be unconnected with the missing of Naval Officer who was said to have disappeared in the past 2 weeks at Ngbo where he was last seen which Citizens Advocate reported in its last edition.

Burnt yam barn

 

Ngbo and its neighbouring Agila have been at war for decades over boundary matters.

Even the two State Governors had inaugurated a committee to ensure the demarcation of the boundary between the two communities.

A resident of the area, Eze Ituma  expressed shock that despite heavy security presence in the area,  the Agila people carried out the attack unstopped.

One of the victims

Meanwhile, the Chairman of Ohaukwu Local Government Area, Barr Clement Odah has blamed the National Boundary Commission (NBC) for being responsible for the brutal constant murder of people in the council area following its delay in doing the needful.

Barr. Odah made the statement while briefing newsmen about the crisis recently.

This is following gruesome murder of a total of nine persons from Ndiagu Orie, Umuguduakpu Ngbo community in the council area by unknown gunmen believed to have come from neighbouring Agila community in Adọ Local Government Area of Benue State.

Barr. Odah also called on the National Boundary Commission to hasten up the boundary demarcation in the nation, Ebonyi State in particular to stop incessant loss of lives and property due to boundary crisis.

He opined that when the boundary is demarcated, police station and Army unit, schools, tertiary institutions, hospitals, etc, put in place, and there are human and vehicular activities around the boundary areas, it will bring permanent end to these hostilities.

Another victim

“I received a call from the Coordinator of Ngbo West Development Centre, Barr. Stephen Igwe Ogenyi, informing me of the brutal attack from Agila people, which left many of the natives, numbering nine dead, with many houses burnt, barns of yams set on fire and people displaced.

“It is a thing of worry and shock that in spite of the efforts put so far, this magnitude of injury will be done to our people. We feel very bad about it. We condemn the killings. We use this opportunity to call on the federal government and specifically, call on the National Boundary Commission (NBC) to hasten up and do the needful.

“We have attended several meetings in Abuja at the instance of NBC. We have attended several other peace meetings in Enugu, Benue and Ebonyi States. All these meetings were geared toward restoring lasting peace. We have reached several peace pacts. But unfortunately, the peace agreements we have reached which we believed will give us peace have been breached by our neighbours from Agila. This is very unfortunate.

One of the animals slaughtered

“So, we call on the NBC to move in quickly to put in place a permanent solution to Ebonyi/Benue boundary dispute, by way of permanent demarcation. We believe that when the boundary is demarcated, police station and army units, schools, tertiary institutions, hospitals, etc, are put in place, and there are human and vehicular activities around the boundary areas, it will bring permanent end to these hostilities, he stated.

It was gathered that three out of the victims who were mothers were beheaded by the gunmen who invaded the Ngbo community.

When contacted, the Ebonyi State Commissioner for Police, CP Awosola Awotinde while speaking with newsmen confirmed the killing of the said persons but gave the number to be seven persons.

Recall that, Ngbo Community have been in decades long inter communal dispute with neighbouring Agila community in Adọ local government area of Benue state.

Awotinde said the Police have sent a reinforcement of Mobile Police personnel to the troubled area to restore order and frowned at the destruction of properties worth millions of naria including dwelling houses, yam barns, animals set ablaze.

Although, there were conflicting reports on the actual number of persons killed, a source from the community who spoke to newsmen on anonymity alleged that the attack was carried out by Agila people at about 1:00PM.

The source said the attackers had emerged from the buffer zone into the community wearing military camouflage and this made the people to think they were military men.

Some military personnel had been to the community recently in search of a missing Naval officer who had gone missing over a week ago in the area.

The source said when the attackers emerged from the disputed land into the community, some community members who saw them felt they were part of the search team that had earlier visited the community not knowing they were Agila warlords.


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