Kogi State community buries 25 victims of banditry

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

Chief David Akpa, the District Head and Ochala Onu-Ife Bagaji Odo, Omala, Kogi State, made this known to newsmen.

Akpa, who spoke in his palace, said those buried included two women and four children.

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

He said: “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.”

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 State 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 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.

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.

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

Ovye-Aya, a Superintendent of Police, said: “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.”

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