Kogi community buries 25 victims of banditry

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By Thompson Yamput

Twenty-five victims of Thursday’s banditry at Agojeju-Odo community in Omala Local Government Area of Kogi were buried on Saturday.

Chief David Akpa, District Head and Ochala Onu-Ife Bagaji Odo, Omala, Kogi, told newsmen in his palace that those buried included 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 Gov. Usman Ododo, said on Friday that the governor had ordered a thorough investigation of the incident.

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

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

He called on 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, SP Williams Ovye-Aya, also confirmed the attack and assured that security operatives were keeping vigil over 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. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng) (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Alli Hakeem

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