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Community buries 25 victims killed by gunmen as survivors beg Fed, State Govts for protection

 

Community buries 25 victims killed by gunmen as survivors beg Fed, State Govts for protection

Twenty-Five victims of Thursday’s banditry attack at Agojeju-Odo community in Omala Local Government Area of Kogi were buried yesterday.

 

Chief David Akpa, District Head and Ochala Onu-Ife Bagaji Odo, Omala, Kogi State, told newsmen in his palace that the bodies that were buried included those of two women and four children.

Akpa described the attack as barbaric and wicked, given the way and manner the bandits unleashed mayhem on his people.

“We are mourning our loved ones who were killed in cold blood. We have never had any misunderstanding either with bandits or with herdsmen before now.


“As it is now, we are living in fear, more so that we heard that they are coming to Bagaji Odo, where surviving victims are taking refuge.

“We are pleading with the federal and state governments to come to our aid and protect us from bandits,” he pleaded.

Akpa explained that Thursday’s attack was the second in the year, sending serious fears into residents.

A community member had alleged on Thursday that a running battle between militia groups in parts of Benue and some bandits led to the onslaught on the sleepy towns of Agojeju-Odo, Ajokpachi-Odo, Bagaji and environs.

“They destroyed farm produce with ease in an attempt to draw the communities into the conflict,” he said.

Retired Commodore Jerry Omodara, Special Adviser on Security to Governor Usman Ododo, said on Friday that the governor had ordered a thorough investigation into the incident.

“The killing of innocent and harmless residents of the community by alleged hired militiamen is very callous, unacceptable and condemnable,” he said.

Omodara said property; especially houses, vehicles and crops were destroyed in the attack.

He called on the people of Agojeju-Odo and neighbouring communities to remain calm as government and security agencies were on top of the situation.

Police spokesman in Kogi State, SP Williams Ovye-Aya, also confirmed the attack and assured that security operatives were keeping vigil in the community to forestall further attacks.

“A tactical response team of the police, the military, and members of vigilance groups has been deployed in the area. Normalcy has since returned to the troubled community.

“Investigation into the incident has started to bring the perpetrators to book,” Ovye-Aya assured.

Ajaka condemns killings, calls for prompt action

The Social Democratic Party (SDP) governorship candidate in the November 11, 2023 governorship election, Alhaji Yakubu Ajaka, has condemned the bandits’ attack on Agojeju-Odo community.

Ajaka, who made the remarks in a statement in Lokoja on Saturday, also called for immediate action to stop bandits’ incessant attacks in the area.

A total of 25 persons were reportedly killed by bandits on Thursday in an attack that left several people injured and farm produce destroyed.

Ajaka condemned the reccurring maiming and killing of innocent Kogites in Bagana, Otutubatu, Iyade, Agbenema, Agojeju-Odo and other affected communities in Omala LGA.

“The life of every citizen is sacred and important, and it is the responsibility of the state to protect the masses against internal and external aggression.

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