- Some members of Ugwuneshi community were arrested by unknown uniform men
- This occoured after a clash with Fulani herdsmen
- The traditional ruler called on the Enugu state government to intercede.
Residents of Ugwuneshi autonomous community in Awgu local government area of Enugu state were thrown into disarray following the alleged arrest of 76 members of their community by ‘men in uniform’.
It was reported that men were arrested following a clash with Fulani herdsmen in Awgu where the community is situated which is a border community with Lokpanta in Umunneochi local government area of Abia state which hosts a cattle market.
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Vanguard reports that Igwe Godwin Nwobi who is the traditional leader of the community said the incident occoured on Thursday, March 17. He claimed the herdsmen had settled in the community without permission and had been using their cattle to destroy their crops and farmlands over the years. He said members of the community pleaded with them to stop but they refused.
Annoyed by the perceived impunity, members of the community protested the use of their farmlands as grazing spot. He said after the protest, information circulated that two women who went to their farms were abducted.
Nwobi said: “When we got such information, the community gathered to discuss modality of dispatching some people on rescue mission and suddenly they were surrounded by men in military uniform who arrested 76 of them and carried them away in trucks.”
He urged the Enugu state government to see to the release of the villagers.
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“It is wrong for our people who fled the North because of Boko Haram to be treated as slaves in their own land. We don’t want to be destroyed by herdsmen like they did in Agatu, Benue State. Government should please come to our rescue. We appeal to our Governor, and other South East Governors to save Igbo land from herdsmen invasion before it is too late.”
However, Major Sydney Mbaneme who is the public relations officer of the 14 Brigade Ohafia denied that soldiers were responsible for the arrest. He claimed the supposed men in uniform could be fake soldiers in camouflage.
Fulani herdsmen have been at the centre of controversy in recent times over alleged killings and unleashing of terror to members of host community especially farmers.