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Six children, ages one to six, killed in attack on Fulani community in Oba, Anambra State

  • Residents say the attack on the Anambra community was carried out by suspected members of IPOB

Six children, aged between one to six years, were killed during an attack on a Fulani community in Oba, Idemili Local Government Area of Anambra State.

Oba is located a few kilometres between Anambra State’s two main commercial cities, Onitsha and Nnewi.

Although residents said the attack was carried out by suspected members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), the proscribed group’s lawyer and Spokesperson, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, said: “I am not aware of this one.”

Members of the Fulani community told said that they would not retaliate as they are trusting the security agencies to deliver justice to them, with the host community and State government assuring of solidarity and assistance.

Sources said that the attack happened on Tuesday evening and it shows gruesome photographs of the killings showing they were savagely macheted with an alleged one-year-old burnt.

Also, the background of the photographs shows razed homes. The impact of the attack suggests children were targeted or that they were only killed because elderly members of the community were absent at the time attack was carried out.

There was also a short video showing the remains of the children wrapped in white cloths ready after they were washed and before internment, according to Islamic tradition, according to Premium Times newspaper.

With the attack, the community is now displaced with the survivors taking refuge inside the Army Brigade barrack in Onitsha.

Sources said that all the six children were buried inside the barracks.

The State Police Spokesperson, Haruna Mohammed, said he was not aware of the attack.

Names of the slain children include the following:

1. Nasiru Laminu, two years old;

2. Sirajo Ali, two years old;

3. Zainabu Mutmeru, four years old;

4. Aminu, two years old;

5. Mairo, six years old; and

6. Maryam, one year old.

The patriarch of the Fulani community in Oba, Dogo Isa, however confirmed that nothing happened to their cattle because it was in the evening when the animals had been herded to the stream.

Isa said he has lived in Anambra State for 43 years but that on Monday, he was called by a person, who asked him and his extended family to leave the community.

“The person told me I should take my family to the North because the Fulani are no longer wanted in Igboland. They said they gave me one day to leave. But around 5 p.m., on Tuesday, I was called that I should come home.

“Then, I met six of our children dead and my house razed. All of us had to leave to stay in the barrack here. I have begged the soldiers to help me get the man that called me to take him to the Police.”

With years of bad governance and the government’s failure to address the challenge of national integration, secessionist agitations were reawakened by IPOB, leveraging people’s anger against the Nigerian State.

In 2017, Nigeria proscribed IPOB and declared it a terrorist organisation amid a major standoff with the Army in Abia, the home state of Mr Kanu.

The group has rejected being labelled a terrorist organisation saying its actions and demand for secession are peaceful.

But it recently established a formation called Eastern Security Network, which it said would protect the Igboland “against Fulani herders.”

Criminal herders have been involved for a long time in deadly conflicts with farmers across the country – and recently in cases of abductions for ransom.

But communities in Southern Nigeria have recently declared readiness to resort to self-help against the Fulani herders, bringing even the innocent among them at risk of indiscriminate violence.

The IPOB-linked Eastern Security Network is currently the target of a operation in Orlu and Orsu Local Government Areas of Imo State.

Because of the attack, there are fears of Fulani reprisal mission in Oba.

Mr Isa said the host community leaders had been calling to sympathise with him and assured him of solidarity. He said he should let security authorities handle the matter instead of resorting to self-help.

“They said they heard that some Fulani were coming to attack but I have told them that it is not true and no Fulani will attack them in retaliation but they should help us find the person that called me and those that attacked us,” Mr Isa said.

First published by Premium Times,

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