A woman who survived the recent Ebonyi Killings, Ngozi Odo-Abuchi, has narrated how herdsmen boasted that nothing would happen to them after the attack as they had their people as heads of security agencies.
Odo-Abuchi, a graduate of the National Teachers’ Institute, who works in the Education Department of the Ishielu Local Government Area of state, stated this while recounting her encounter with death at the hands of killer herdsmen.
The woman said she had fallen victim to the killer herdsmen at Egedegede part of the community alongside a motorcyclist who was killed on the spot while she was spared.
According to her, the herdsmen slit the throat of all the men captured and stabbed them in the stomach but spared the women whom they said would take the message back to the community.
In an interview with Punch, she quoted one of their leaders as saying, “Do not touch the women, they will go and tell their people that this is the consequences of daring to chase Fulani herdsmen out of their community. They will take our message to Nnamdi Kanu that he is doing his Biafra and that he and his IPOB (Indigenous People of Biafra) cannot stop us from operating anywhere in the South-East or even South-South.
“All the heads of security agencies are our people. If they attack any Fulani man in any state, the government security agencies being controlled by our people will go after them, while we will come for reprisal. Tell Nnamdi Kanu of IPOB that he can continue to rant on social media, while we do what we know best.”
Odo-Abuchi described the attack as a horrible experience as some of the herdsmen, who spoke Fulfude and pidgin, cut the men’s hands and noses after killing them.
She said, “On Monday, while I was coming home from where I went to, I mounted an okada (commercial motorcycle) from their park at the Nkalagu junction to convey me to Obeagu, my hometown. The rider is from the same community but not the same village. We left Nkalagu around 5 pm and from Nkalagu to Obeagu is between 30 and 45 minutes with a motorcycle. We passed our junction, Egedegede, and about halfway into the town, we saw people wearing black attire and most of them were inside the bush. Because the okada rider was on top speed, he could not stop immediately after sighting those people. And because he was not suspecting anything, he continued.
“Unfortunately, when we got to a point, those people swooped on us. We were trying to run, but we didn’t know they had surrounded the entire place and they grabbed us. They started beating us, dragged us into the bush so that nobody could easily see what they were doing from the road. They were hitting us with their machetes on the head and kicking us with their boots. They stabbed the motorcyclist in the stomach and slit his throat. That was how they killed all the men; some of the attackers cut the men’s noses and hands after killing them.
“It appeared that they started the killing on the road leading to the community. We were the first they stopped and the okada man conveying us was the first person they killed. As other motorcyclists were coming, they continued killing them, while the females were being tortured. After the beating, they would drag them inside the bush and ask them to lie down. They killed all the okada riders, but the women they didn’t kill but beat us so mercilessly.
“What I saw that evening is better imagined. It was very horrific, but thank God for sparing my life. God is very merciful to me. I was calling the name of Jesus Christ to intervene and save us. While I was praying, I was also quoting the Bible, remembering his promises to those who believe and trust in him. So, as I was praying, one of them said I shouldn’t pray again and close my mouth, but I kept on praying and they kept beating me. One of them raised a dagger to kill me before another one shouted at him to stop and not to kill me or any of the women. There was nothing they didn’t use to torture us; they hit us with machetes; they kicked us with boots and marched upon us.
“My survival was a miracle of God. After they had killed all the men, they gathered some motorcycles and were burning them. At that point, I discovered that they were not close to us and we all ran inside the bush and while we were running, we continued to hide behind trees and the darkness of the night covered us. So, we slept inside the bush until the following morning. In the morning, two of us who ran and hid in the same place trekked back to the scene to see if our belongings were left and some villagers saw us and took us home.
“The attackers were many; more than 20. I couldn’t have counted them because some of them were on the road; some were staying with us and beating us, while some were going up and down. Probably, those were on surveillance looking for more people and ensuring that they were not repelled. Meanwhile, all of them were bearing AK-47 rifles with double magazines.
“The assailants were Fulani men. In short, they told us that they were Fulani; that they came to show us that since our people pursued them out of our community, they wanted to give us a parting gift.”
She said the community had asked the herders to vacate the area as the latter had destroyed the people’s farmlands.
She continued: “They used to take their cows into our farms and destroy crops. They harvest yams and cassava and use them to feed their cows; when our people complained, they would tell us that it wasn’t their cows that destroyed the crops. So, this year, our people asked them to leave our community so that we could return to the farms.
“Our land is lying fallow, while hunger is killing people because they can’t go to the farm. So, our people said since you could not cohabit with us in peace, it was better you relocate to another place. So, after that, a few weeks ago, the people they occupied their land now drove them out.”
She said the herdsmen had said human lives would replace the cows killed by the people in the community.