Gun wielding hoodlums suspected to be Fulani herdsmen have allegedly beat a farmer, Umoru Agunu, to stupor in his farm and also gang raped his wife in the process.
The incident occurred on Sunday at Ubuneke-Ivbiaro, in Owan East local government area of Edo State.
Agunu explained that said the herdsmen who numbered six, invaded his farm at about 10.30 am, demanded for his mobile phone, beat him up and raped his wife.
He said: “No sooner had I arrived at my farm with my wife than I saw six armed herdsmen demanding for my phone. But when I told them I don’t have any, they beat me up mercilessness and took my wife to a distant where she was raped by two of the men. They were also with a young woman who probably is their victim.”
One of the elders of the community, Yakubu Ibrahim, who commented on the incident, said that their community is under the siege of the armed herdsmen.
He added that the situation has rendered life in the community unbearable and uninhabitable as a result of inceasant invasion of the armed men who have kidnapped, raped women and physically assaulted the residents.
“We have been under sieged of armed men since 2015. They have raped several of our married women, kidnapped and physically assaulted both male and female in the farms and while going and returning from markets. Our people are now living in perpetual fears both in the farm and at home.
“Several women have been raped, many people kidnapped and physically assaulted in the farms and while going or coming from market.
“We are agrarian communities known for the production of rice, cassava, cashew, cocoa, plantain, banana, palm oil among others. Since the taking over of the communities by these unknown gunmen, it has been very difficult for us to go to our farms and market,” he said.
Ibrahim who called on the state and Federal Governments to deploy security personnel to the community, added that the Sunday incident has been reported to the Divisional Police Officer in Afuze, the administrative headquarters of Owan East Local Government Area and Divisional Police Officer has promised to send his men along with volunteer vigilantes in search of the fleeing gangsters.
Another community leader who also spoke on the incident, Yusuf Adamu, said following the unabated activities of the gunmen, members of the volunteer vigilante in the community, combed forest last year and some of the gunmen were arrested and handed over to police.
He alleged that they later heard that the arrested armed men were granted freedom by police authorities in Benin for alleged lack of evidence.
When contacted the Head of Local Government Administration (HOLGA), Owan East local government area, Akeens Ade-Akhani, said the Council was aware of the situation in the area.
Akhani said his administration have been mobilizing men of the Nigerian Police as well as vigilantes to Ivbiaro, adding that the security challenges in Ivbiaro, Warrake, Ihievbe and other parts of the local government have been reported to the state government.
“Yes, the Council is aware of the security situation in Ivbiaro, Warrake and Ihievbe. It is not only peculiar to this areas. Even in Lagos where there is good security management, there is kidnapping, raping, stealing, among others.
“The Council is always mobilizing men of the Nigerian Police to Ivbiaro, Warrake and Afuze roads to provide security in those areas. We also empower the Council vigilante group with the necessary incentives and manpower to provide security to our people.
“Though I am yet to get the recent attacke on some persons at Ubuneke-Ivbiaro, but the Council will not relent in its responsibility to ensure the provision of adequate security across the local government area,” he stated.
When contacted on phone, the State Police Command Public Relations Officer, Moses Nkombe, asked for more time to make calls to the affected Police Division, but was not forthcoming as at the time of filling report.