APRIL 23: HOW IT STARTED The herdsmen were believed to have hatched the plot to attack Ukpabi-Nimbo, last weekend,and notified the natives. The development triggered tension in the community. The herdsmen, it was learnt, were bent on taking over portions of the vast fertile land in the community for cattle grazing, a stance the community opposed. The herdsmen allegedly told the natives that their kinsman, Muhammadu Buhari, is the President and so, they takeover land wherever they wanted to graze their cattle at the expense of the host community. The herdsmen, it was learnt, assembled about 500 other herdsmen to launch the attack. It was gathered that the herdsmen in a neighbouring town had imported the 500 others from Nasarawa State to help them invade Ukpabi-Nimbo on the grounds that some of their cattle were missing.
The herdsmen were alleged to have consistently raped,maimed and killed victims from the communities situated on the Nsukka-Adani-Umulokpa expressroad in the council area. Those kidnapped allegedly paid ransoms ranging from N500,000 to about N5 million before they regained their freedom.
APRIL 25: BLACK MONDAY At about 5.15 am, the assailants struck,casualty figure immediately stood at 40,while six more bodies were recovered the following day. The affected villages of Nimbo Ngwoko, Ugwuijoro, Ekwuru, Ebor, Enugu Nimbo, Umuome and Ugwuachara became deserted as blood littered everywhere. Christ Holy Catholic Church, Odozi-Obodo, at Onu-Eke, Nimbo and 11 houses were razed even as 14 victims are lying in critical conditions at Royal Cross Hospital, Nsukka, Nsukka District General Hospital and Bishop Shanahan Hospital, Nsukka.
A member, Board of Governors, Civil Liberty Organization, CLO, told Sunday Vanguard that the killings are targeted at the South-East, the South-West, and the South-South geopolitical zones to reduce the Christian population. It is a grand plan to Islamize Nigeria. The pertinent question is that since when have herdsmen begun to rear cattle with guns? Who bought the guns for them and taught them how to use the guns. Why has Buhari not condemned or commiserated with Benue and Enugu State people over the killings?"
The traditional ruler of Ukpabi-Nimbo, Igwe John Akor, who said:
"The killing,raping,kidnapping of my subjects have come to a head. There is no week that passes that we do not experience kidnapping and killing by herdsmen. It has got out of hand. It was a black Monday. We have been doing our best to have peace with the herdsmen but to no avail. We have called several meetings with those of them from Kogi State,Adani and Enugu. We are appealing to the federal, state and local with governments to come to our aid by giving us adequate security presence. Again,our vast fertile land is what they take advantage of. They harass our people and kill insisting that they own the land and their cattle must graze there. They hold our men at gun point in their farmland and rape their wives,destroy the farms and livestock. Our people have not be going to farm for the past eight months because they are scared not to fall victim to the herdsmen's siege.The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, expressed outrage over the Ukpabi-Nimbo attack. The CAN leader maintained that it would be wrong "for our people to fold their hands and watch helplessly while our women are being raped, our men are being killed and our ancestral land is being taken away." While calling for investigation of security agencies in the state, he announced one-day of mourning to commiserate with all those who lost their lives in the attack. "In honour of those whose lives were snuffed away by these herdsmen, CAN declares one-day of mourning.
Within this period, we ask our people to pray fervently and ask God to take control", he added.Edited from All Africa