Many people were, on Sunday, feared killed when suspected herders invaded Abor, a farming community in Eha-Amufu, Isi-Uzo Local Government Area of Enugu State, Nigeria’s south-east.
The armed persons, said to be over 100, attacked the community at about 8 a.m.
A resident of the area, Jude Eze said apart from those killed in the attack, dozens of villagers were also injured.
“Many people were injured, aside from several others that were killed. But I am sure I saw three corpses and an injured person,” he said.
Mr Eze said some community leaders were still counting bodies already recovered to determine the exact number of those killed in the attack.
Some vigilante operatives in the community initially engaged the hoodlums in a shootout. But they were overpowered by the attackers due to their superior number.
Another resident, who asked not to be named, said a top leader of the vigilante operatives was also killed by the hoodlums during the attack.
“They killed one powerful security man from our place. He is popularly called ‘Sharia.’ He was a leader of Agu-Amede Vigilante Group, but joined Abor Vigilante Operatives to challenge the Fulani herdsmen,” he said.
The resident said that a combined team of police and military personnel have begun to patrol the area.
He said the security operatives arrived in the community with about three patrol trucks and one armoured vehicle.
The police spokesperson in Enugu State, Daniel Ndukwe, did not respond to calls and a WhatsApp message seeking comments from him about the attack.
Mgbuji and other neighbouring communities in Eha-Amufu have been experiencing frequent attacks by suspected herders for some time now.
The latest attack occurred about 10 days after suspected herders killed two persons in Agu-Amede and Abor communities in the council area. Local media reported that the casualty was more.
About three weeks ago, suspected herders killed three persons in the same Agu-Amede Community.
Also, suspected herders, in November, attacked the Agu-Amede community and other neighbouring communities, killing many residents.
Following multiple attacks last month, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, through the Secretary to the Enugu State Government, Simon Ortuanya, asked heads of security agencies in the state to deploy more personnel to the affected communities to prevent further attacks.
The governor said the state government would meet with the leaders of the herders in the area to resolve the issues causing the attacks.
Mr Ugwuanyi, subsequently, released N10 million for the immediate needs of victims who have been taking refuge in some internally displaced persons camps in the communities.
The then Commissioner of Police in the state, Abubakar Lawal, also visited the area in June, alongside top officials of the State Security Service, the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Air Force.
Similarly, in August, communities in the area and the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, set up a joint task force to provide security in the area and bring the attacks to an end.
But the attacks have continued, despite the assurances by security agencies in the state as well as the governor.