We are under siege by herders, Delta community laments
For the umpteenth time, Issele-Azagba, an agrarian community in Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State, has been invaded by criminals suspected to be herders. The community shares boundary with Okpanam, Atuma, Otulu and Ogwashi-Ukwu.
The incessant attacks prompted the community to embark on a mass protest to draw the attention of the international community to their plight and to solicit for alternative security measure over the increasing failure of government to protect them.
Addressing newsmen at the weekend at the palace of the community’s monarch, Obi Francis Jideuwa, the President General of Issele-Azagba Development Union, Mr. Benneth Uche Iloh, and President General of Issele-Azagba Youth Association, Comrade Ogebgu Edozie, respectively gave accounts of the incessant attacks on the community in what they tagged: ‘Telling Our Story’.
According to them, Issele-Azagba was first attacked on October 14, 2019 at the Azagba Mixed Secondary School, where two persons, a teacher and a 19-year-old student were shot dead and five other teachers, including the principal of the school abducted into the bush by the Fulani herders.
They said it was a horrifying experience where the community had to mobilize its able bodied young men into the bush against all odds, to rescue the abducted teachers, including some of the students who scampered into the bush at different directions.
They were yet to recover from that experience when another attack happened on February 6, 2020, leaving two persons dead, including one Engr. Sebastian Kadiri. Yet again, while still putting security measures in place, the third attack, which took place on February 23, resulted in the death of a male resident, his wife abducted and his daughter sustained gun injuries and still recuperating in a hospital. It was later gathered that the family paid ransom to have the deceased’s wife released.
However, the fourth attack took place at the High Hope Hotel, Issele-Azagba, where another two persons were killed and five others, both workers and customers of the hotel, were kidnapped into the bush. Families of the victims have all paid ransom and the victims released.
According to the community, “We are under serious siege by these killer Fulani herdsmen. What is most painful is that the Nigerian government has refused to intervene since we started crying for help. We need protection, we are a peace loving community and do not treat our visitors badly. We are sending a strong message to the government that if these attacks continued, we might resort to self help. We have condoned these people for too long, allowing them to graze our land freely and without molestation. But why are they killing us in our own land?”
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