….Catholic Bishops visit victims
As revulsion and anger seem to be the reaction of every Igbo person on the barbaric killing of innocent men, women and children, a video clip from the mobile phone of a Fulani herdsman arrested by police, in Kogi State, for another offence has given security men fresh clues about how the Uzo-Uwani, Enugu, massacre was carried out.
Fulani herdsmen attacked Nimbo community, Uzo-Uwani, Enugu, in the wee hours of Monday, 25th April 2016, killing over 48 people.
In the video which police discovered accidentally while investigating one Mohammed Zure, a Fulani herdsman and arrested in a kidnap case, police saw and heard how Ndigbo were butchered like cattle by the invading Fulani herdsmen.
Zure’s case changed for the worse after he was granted bail and was awaiting someone to sign the papers and take him on bail. Just then, the investigating police officer decided intuitively to switch on Zure’s confiscated mobile phone, which shockingly revealed gory pictures of the Enugu killings and to which Zure later confessed to have been involved.
“Everything changed immediately and he was taken back to the interrogation room. He later confessed that he was the one who took the video while one of the victims was being slaughtered during the Enugu killings,” a police source said.
“In the video, you could hear Zure shouting in Hausa, ‘I have killed you now. You think that you can kill Fulani herdsmen and go free’. Zure personally took the pictures to show his family members that he was actually successful and participated in the killings.”
According to Zure’s confession, more than 100 Fulani herdsmen selected from Taraba, Kogi, Nasarrawa, Katsina, Niger, Kaduna and Benue states took part in the Enugu killings. He claimed that the community had killed certain herdsmen in the past and buried them, but this could not be confirmed.
As to how they struck, Zure, who was born and bred in Enugu, said it was a united attack by all Fulani herdsmen. Zure said he was selected to join the attack because of his background.
He said prior to the attack the Fulani’s in Nimbo—shared kolanut to all cattle rearers across the country, a traditional way of notifying their kith and kin of an imminent attack and soliciting their support. Two days before the attack, they gathered at a place in Kogi and reviewed their strategy.
Eye witnesses said the villagers heard a bell at 3am which unknown to them was being rung by the attackers to wake them up from sleep and draw them out of their homes and into the open where the attackers, armed to the teeth, were waiting.
“We believe they came into our village around 12 am on Monday and laid ambush to attack by 3 am,” an eye witness said.
Although the Enugu killings have been widely condemned and President Buhari given orders to security agents to deal with killer herdsmen, affected communities are still living in fear while the nation awaits a permanent solution to the herdsmen menace that has been described as a time-bomb.
Meanwhile, Catholic Bishops of Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province have visited Nimbo, Uzo-Uwani, donating money, food stuffs, comforting the people and calling on Government to take responsibility.
“We heard what happened. It was scourging. It was sorrowful. It was so painful because if there was war, people would have known and prepared themselves. But to be sleeping or resting and all of a sudden one is besieged and invaded, it is very painful. However, the most painful side of the story is that we are told that those who committed this crime had no provocation from any of their victims. It is very bad,” His Grace Most Rev Dr Valerian Maduka Okeke, the Archbishop and Metropolitan of Onitsha who led the prelates said.
“We appeal to governments and security agents to take up their responsibility seriously. If they are called upon, they should respond appropriately to prevent future occurrences. I want to tell you that we have been praying for you ever since we heard of your sad stories. Be consoled. May God wipe your tears.”