Calm Returns To Community After Bloodbath
RELATIVE peace and tranquility is gradually returning to Ologba community in Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State, as a result of an alleged attack inflicted by their neighbour, Egba community, which sent scores to their early graves and several others displaced.
After several weeks of unrest, residents have begun to return in batches and commercial activities, which had been comatose for weeks had begun to pick up. Even, the displaced are gradually returning to their farms from where they are squatting.
The communal clash allegedly claimed the lives of 45 persons, who were committed to mass burial, while several others received degrees of injuries and others rendered homeless.
It was learnt that the animosity between the warring communities, which has been on for many years, is a recurring decimal. Though it was alleged that the latest attack was sparked-off based on suspicion by Egba community that Ologba instigated the recent Fulani attack on them, others said it was as a result of the perennial conflict over the ownership of a fishpond.
Many were surprised that these communities, that speak and share same dialect and also inter-marry, could suddenly turn against each other, forgetting their common decent.
The Fulani attack a few months ago, led to the death of 82 people, including children, women and the aged.
The Guardian learnt that though the dead victims were later given mass burial in Egba village, the pain in the minds of the affected community did not go as they waited for any slight provocation to revenge.
At the moment, relative peace has returned among the enraged brothers. The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Autin Ezeani, also confirmed this to The Guardian that normalcy has returned to the areas in question and members of the communities who escaped to other neighboring towns and villages have returned home and are carrying out their normal businesses without fear.
One of the displaced persons, Ochanyi Oloka, who narrated his ordeal to The Guardian on phone, said he was nearly killed in the mayhem.
He stated that when news started filtering into the community that the people of Egba community were planning to attack them, they initially took it for granted, the reason why they were caught unaware.
“We did not take the news serious because we knew nothing about what they were accusing us of. How on earth could we have instigated the Fulani herdsmen to go and attack our own brothers, even if we had a long-standing quarrel over a fishpond?
“Before we could confirm the news, the Egba people had invaded our community, killing several people in one day. Both communities recorded casualties in the fracas, people say about 45 people were killed. I managed to escape unhurt after I trekked many kilometres in the bush, until I reached Obagaji town with other fleeing members of our community.”
The State Commissioner of Police, Hycinth Dagala, said based on the information available to him, the villages in question had a long-standing fight over a fishpond. He explained that the renewed crisis was as a result of suspicion by the Egba community that Ologba people instigated the recent deadly Fulani invasion against them.
Though he confirmed that people were killed, he however, said it was only 23 and not 45 people as reported.