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10 feared dead, houses burnt as Fulani herdsmen, ESN operatives clash in Imo


Emeka Ejindu, Owerri

The sleepy Okporo community, in Orlu local government area of Imo State, South-East Nigeria, has been thrown into chaos following a deadly clash between armed Fulani herdsmen and the Eastern Security Network, ESN, a militant wing of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.

Our correspondent gathered that trouble started when some farmers in the community reported that herdsmen were grazing on their farms despite repeated warnings.

Following the development, some youths from the community were said to have invited the ESN members, who succeeded in chasing away the herdsmen.

Four cows were said to have been killed in the process.

However, one month later, the herdsmen returned in what could be termed a deadly reprisal.

The raid has left the area in devastation.

President General of the community, Chief Innocent Nzelu, who conducted journalists round the area, said no fewer than 10 persons were murdered by the invaders.

He named those killed to include Daniel Iheoma, Chukwuka Ihuoma, Kelechi Nzekwe, Celestine Onyewuotu, Maduka Okoli, Obi Amadi, among others.

“The devastation we suffered in our community is indescribable; we have lost lives and valuable properties; the loss cannot be quantified.

“For several days, we were consistently attacked by the rampaging Fulani herdsmen who were destroying our farms, but nobody spoke against it.

“Government never came to our help, that’s why some angry youths invited ESN, the militant wing of the IPOB. They were the ones that chased the herdsmen away.

“But surprisingly, they returned and wrecked this havoc.

“We are trying the security agencies to stop at nothing in arresting the hoodlums,” he declared.

Meanwhile, one of the victims, Onyewuotu Juliet, whose husband was murdered during the attack, said her life had been ruined.

Speaking to our correspondent on the phone, she lamented that their family house was also set ablaze by the invaders.

“My husband was one of those killed by those heartless Fulani herdsmen; our house was also totally raised down.

“As I speak, we have no home, and we heard they are still threatening more attacks.

“I’m totally devastated. My husband died while defending our community,” she said while crying bitterly.

As of the time of filing this report, the police said no arrest has been made.

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