Ebonyi experienced a recurrence of violence after suspected bandits killed eight persons in Ukwagba-Mgbo, Ohaukwu Local Government Area on Saturday. Four of the victims were beheaded.
The Police Command in Ebonyi confirmed the incident on Sunday. Further, the deceased were said to have been killed by suspected attackers from Agila in Benue.
However, officials of the state government believe otherwise and blame stakeholders in the area for the situation.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Loveth Odah disclosed that the attack, which occurred on Saturday, also witnessed the razing of six houses.
“The state Commissioner of Police (CP), Awosola Awotinde, top police officers and the Chairman of Ohaukwu LGA, rushed to the scene on receiving information on the incident. We were informed by the people that the attackers came from neigbouring Agila community of Benue as they also burnt six houses and killed 20 goats,” Odah said.
Further, the PPRO disclosed the identities of the beheaded victims. They include James Aleke, 55, Innocent Agbo, 65, Chukwu Enwe, 46, and Livinus Idoko, 70.
On the other hand, the victims whose bodies were still intact are Ngozi Idenyi, 32 and Jonathan Onwe, 10. Others are Ify Aleke, 51, and Susanna Ogba, 54. Another victim, Okeh Nwankwo, 53, is currently hospitalised.
“The CP urged the people to remain calm and avoid undertaking reprisal attacks as the command will ensure that peace is restored in the area,” she said.
Odah urged the Federal Government to intervene in the matter, saying the situation had deteriorated seriously. She also called on both state governments to re-double efforts to permanently tackle the issue.
“The attack was last witnessed on Aug.27 when two persons were killed in the community,’’ she said.
Ebonyi Governor challenges traditional rulers to fish out killers
However, Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi criticised stakeholders in the area for allowing the killings to continue.
Umahi, represented by his Deputy, Kelechi Igwe, said it was saddening to see six past chairmen of the council hailed from the area. Likewise, Sam Egwu, the first civilian governor of the state and current senator representing Ebonyi North.
“You should know the people causing trouble in your domains as the traditional rulers should be able to identify those fomenting trouble in the area. We are tired of the sentiments coming from this council. But we seek action because some people wrote undertaking to the state government, to ensure peace,” he said.
Umahi directed that all the people who signed the undertaking for the government must produce the perpetrators. Further, he disclosed that they agreed to be held responsible if such event occurred.