Over 26 lives, 17 houses lost in Ebonyi attack -Indigenes

The death toll of the recent attack on residents of Effium/Ezza-Effium community in Ohaukwu and part of Ebonyi Local Government Areas of Ebonyi State has climbed up to 26, following the invasion of the affected communities by assailants in the area early hours of Sunday, April 10, 2022.

A preliminary assessment of the incident was reported on Tuesday, April 12, 2022.

The attack, according to a detailed investigation by our correspondent, claimed more than 26 lives, in addition to a total number of 17 houses destroyed.

The affected villages included Ohagelede, Umuezeoka, Ebbiaji and Ebbeta, all in Ezza/Effium, and part of Ebonyi LGAs of the state.

During an unscheduled visit to the affected villages, people were seen in groups mourning their beloved family members who were killed during the attack while others were busy relocating members of their families, including properties for fear of further attacks by the suspected assailants.

According to an eyewitness, Chief Daniel Nwanga from Umuezeoka village, the incident happened in the early hours of the penultimate day at Ezza villages of Ohagelede, Umuezeoka, Ebbeta and adjoining communities, from where the assailants invaded the community.

Nwanga stated that the government had ordered a ceasefire a fortnight ago, which they obeyed, unknowing their enemies would come to launch another attack sooner.

“In the past three weeks, the government ordered a ceasefire in this community and we agreed to obey because we don’t disobey any order from the government.

“The assailants came in hundreds from Ogbabruagu village and killed four there; another four at Ebiaji; another four at Ogbaenyigwe, and came to Ebbeta and killed six. They went to the Izzi-speaking area to trace our people and also killed eight there and burnt more than 17 houses.

“The incident happened yesterday (Sunday) around 6:00 am and kept operating till 2:00 pm. We called the Army from Nweke Ndiagu but before they came, the gunmen had already left.

The village leader added that 26 dead bodies were counted aftermath of the assault while appealing to the government, as law-abiding citizens, to intensify the prompt arrest and prosecution of the sponsors and perpetrators of these ”atrocities”.

Also speaking, Moses Nwafor from Ebbeta whose wife, stepmother, grandson and younger brother were among those killed, lamented that he had no knowledge that the conflict was still ongoing because there was a pending ceasefire agreement.

He expressed shock over the heart-wrenching loss of four of his family members, including his wife.

“Yesterday, (last Sunday), I started hearing gunshots from afar. Those warlords from Effium came with matchets, guns; they killed my wife, my stepmother, my grandson and my younger brother.

“Their burial is ongoing now. Since this incident started, they told us to respect peace talk, which we did but never knew they would come to attack us,” grieving Nwafor told our correspondent.

Also, Nwigwe Joseph, Uchenna Nwite, and Eucharia Nwakpa, amongst others, lamented that they had lost almost all that they had, in the wake of the attack.

According to them, the entire village had ”surrendered their arms in obedience to the ceasefire agreement, which Ebonyi State Government instituted but to our greatest surprise, the affected villages were invaded and many people killed”.

Reacting to the ugly incident, the Chairman of Ohaukwu LGA of Ebonyi state, Clement Odah condemned the attack that led to the killings and destruction of houses in the Ezza/Effium and Ishieke communities of the state.

He said he was working assiduously to unravel those behind the attack so that they would face the full weight of the law and sympathized with the affected families.

In a statement he personally signed, the council boss said, “Ohaukwu Local Government Council has received with concern, report of the unfortunate incident at Ohaogelode Village, in Ishieke Community.

“The council condemn the incident in strong terms and reassure all that no stones will be left unturned to unravel the true circumstances that led to such avoidable loss of lives and properties.

“The council has initiated a spirited and discreet investigation to unveil the perpetrators of the act and ensure that justice is done.

”Our heartfelt sympathies go to all the affected families and our beloved brothers from Ohaogelode village.

“The council reaffirms that both Ishieke and Effium communities have lived in peace as brothers from time immemorial and this peace must not be tampered with.

“The government of Ebonyi State under our peace-loving governor has worked assiduously to restore peace in the entire Ebonyi state and all hands must be on deck to achieve the task of a peaceful Ebonyi state where love and unity reign supreme.

”Once again, all parties are assured that justice must be done as a deterrence and guarantee against future reoccurrence.”

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