Apprehension, on Thursday, enveloped Okpanam community, Oshimili North Local Government Area, Delta State, following a violent clash between the community vigilante group and Fulani herdsmen.
The Vanguard gathered that the ravaging Fulani herdsmen had, Wednesday night kidnapped a yet to be identified woman and her daughter in Okpanam, which prompted the local vigilante group into action after were alerted of the development. A dependable source in the community told newsmen that the vigilante group mobilized into the forest in search of the kidnapped woman and her daughter, adding that the Fulani herdsmen on sighting the vigilante men alighting from their vehicle opened fire on them.
The source who pleaded anonymity lamented that the vigilante leader, simply identified as Emeka and one of his members were killed on the spot by the daring Fulani herdsmen while one other member of the group sustained serious bullets injuries on his legs. He decried that the suspected Fulani herdsmen who sighted the vigilante members first and who were sprawling for war, fired directly on them with superior weapons, lamenting that the vigilante members were taken unawares. The source decried that suspected Fulani herdsmen had invaded the community on Wednesday night and kidnapped yet to be identified woman and her daughter. Lamenting that the suspected Fulani herdsmen have been terrorizing the community in the last two months, he said over seven persons have been kidnapped and released after payment of a ransom in the hitherto peaceful community. He said the killings of the vigilante members provoked Okpanam community youths, who took to the streets in protest and barricaded the Asaba/Benin/Onitsha expressway. He said the protest caused a traffic grid on the expressway and economic setbacks for hours, adding that it took the intervention of security agents to disperse the protesters, who vowed to revenge the deaths of their kinsmen
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of the Delta State Police Command, DSP Onome Onovwakpoyeya confirmed the incident, explaining that the two vigilante members who were unarmed were chased and shot dead by suspected criminals. Saying that the whereabouts of the kidnapped victims were still unknown, she said the killers of the vigilante members were still at large. She said: “The vigilante members were in search of a woman and her daughter who were abducted earlier by the suspected kidnappers”.