Nwobi Chidubem Valentine
The incessant attack by Fulani herdsmen has caused a state of unrest in the Eha-Amufu community which is one out of the five towns in the Isi-Uzo Local Government Area of Enugu State.
The community which is often regarded as the largest and most populated community in Isi-Uzo local government is no longer what it used to be before. Eha-Amufu used to be a community where people literally sleep outside on mats to get fresh air.
Most of the habitants are predominantly farmers and they have fertile land that grows crops so well without the addition of any fertilizer. Even the laziest of them can still boast of three square meals per day. These and more were very much attainable before the invasion of the Fulani herdsmen in the community.
Eha-Amufu flourished in milk and honey until they started to have the problem of insecurity in the early days of 2021 when the herdsmen invasion began to cause distress to the people of the neighborhood.
Members of the community’s farmlands and means of livelihood were destroyed in the process. This propelled villagers from Mgbuji to become worriedly weary and try to give chase out against these herders. Amidst this, some cows were killed which reportedly led to the herders launching another retaliation.
On January 16, 2022, the herders reportedly attacked the Mgbuji village in the Eha-Amufu community of Enugu State, and houses were set ablaze. The suspected herdsmen also invaded a farm settlement in the community and killed five people with several others also getting injured. The effect of this is that people in the community started relocating to nearby towns and villages because their farm settlements and communities were no longer safe any longer.
The fight between herders and people of Mgbuji which rose from invading farms to Kidnapping, rape cases, thefts, burning of houses, and killings has its extension to other nearby villages.
It was also reported that 3 vigilantes lost their lives while pursuing kidnappers who were suspected to be herdsmen that had kidnapped a woman and an 11-year daughter of Dr. Eugene Edeoga, younger brother to Hon Chijoke Edeoga, the commissioner for environment.
Another attack was reported on June 17, 2022, by Vanguard news in which 8 persons were reportedly killed including a local vigilante identified as Emmanuel Obodo who was beheaded during the attack by suspected herdsmen. Ever since the first attack, many have been killed and hundreds have been displaced from their homes. People who choose to stay back are people who probably have no place and are afraid of where to go.
How the attack affects some of the villagers
Speaking with one of the habitants by name Joel Kosiso from Agụ-Amede village in Eha-Amufu, Isi-Uzo Local Government said a lot of his friends have abandoned the village as no one knows when they will attack next.
He also mentioned that hunger is beginning to ravage the whole village as there is nothing to harvest from the farm anymore.
“I used to collect loans from my friends to cultivate crops and usually pay back with 25% interest on any amount given to me after harvesting and selling off the farm products, but this time, it was a bad business as herdsmen attacked my farm in early August,” he said.
A community leader, Augustine Odo also confirmed that 15 villagers who were kidnapped in July had been released after a huge sum of 2 million was paid as ransom.
He said that the herdsmen came and attacked Iyiasa, Agụ-Amede later after the release of the villagers they shot sporadically for 30 minutes, and burnt 3 houses and cars.
“The government deploys soldiers in communities in other South-East (areas) to hound and kill members of pro-Biafra groups, especially the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) but the same soldiers cannot be deployed to our communities to stop herdsmen and Islamic terrorist attacks.”
Another Villager identified as Emeka Uzu cried out bitterly after losing his uncle in the attack by herdsmen on 30th August. He added that all efforts to get the details of how the attack happened were unsuccessful.
What should be done?
Police checkpoints should be stationed at strategic places in the community. As it’s proven that it’s not a fight for local vigilantes. More elite forces need to be stationed in this community to bring their life back to them.
Camps should be built for displaced persons in the community for people whose house has been burnt and those who have fled from their community because of the incessant invasion of Fulani herdsmen.
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