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Gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen have abducted an 8-year-old girl in Agu-Amede community, Isi-Uzo Local Government Area of Enugu State.
The victim is said to be the daughter of the Chairman, Agu-Amede community Neighbourhood Watch Group, Mr Sunday Olinya popularly known as ‘Sunday Sharia Driver’
It was gathered that the gunmen numbering about seven stormed Olinya’s house with AK-47 rifles on Sunday, November 21 but he managed to escape.
They kidnapped his daughter, Nmesoma, after allegedly ransacking the house and stealing some valuables.
Sources told PUNCH that the attack seemed connected with the insistence of Agu-Amede community, where Olinya is the chairman, that herdsmen should not come to destroy farm crops in their community three weeks ago after over 50 hectares of rice farms that were almost ready for harvest were destroyed by cows.
Orinya, who confirmed the attack and the abduction of his daughter on Monday, said that he had reported the incident to the police and some officers had visited his house twice.
“I was sleeping around 1 am on Sunday morning and I heard a bang on the door. I was sleeping in the living room so immediately I woke up. I heard the second bang I stood up and asked who is that? But I got no response,” he narrated.
“I went close to one of the windows and looked outside, I saw two herdsmen with AK-47 rifles positioned to shoot. I rushed to the back door, I equally saw two herdsmen positioned with their AK-47. All the lights in the house were off but the security lights were on and my wife and children were still sleeping in their rooms.
And they (herders) had positioned themselves around my house. So, the only option available since there was no network to call for assistance was to find a way to escape. Luckily for me, there is one window in the house that had no burglary proof and I had to escape from there.
“Immediately, they noticed that I had escaped they started shooting indiscriminately in my position but I was unhurt. However, in other not to attract much attention, they rushed, broke one of the windows and went inside the house. They ransacked everywhere, collected some valuables including money and my wife’s phone and kidnapped my eight-year-old daughter who was sleeping.
“My wife told me that they looked for her as she overheard them asking my daughter where is her mother. According to her, when they heard the shooting she and my son woke up and went and hid inside one of the rooms but my daughter was still sleeping in her room.”
Olinya, however, noted that his family have established contact with them through the wife’s phone and that they are demanding N15 million ransom for her release.
“They told a family member who was in constant contact with them that they came to kill me and not to abduct my daughter, that I had unfinished business with them.”
Asked what kind of unfinished business he has with them, Olinya said “I don’t know. What I know is that my community asked them about a month ago not to come to destroy our farm crops. This happened after they destroyed with their cows about 50 hectares of rice farms in Akpouf Agu-Amede.
“So, during the incident, one of the owners of the cows said that his boy was wounded and insisted that he must be treated. Our community sent N50,000 to the Alhaji for the treatment of the boy herder he claimed was injured. Our people didn’t kill their cattle or their people. The same Alhaji had come to my house with other leaders on two occasions with huge money to allow them to graze their cattle in my community which were turned down.”
Spokesperson of the command, Daniel Ndukwe, confirmed the abduction of the girl but said that the attackers were armed robbers.
“What we had is a case of alleged abduction of one 8-year-old Nmesoma Olinya (f), on 21/11/2021 at about 3.48 am, by yet-to-be-identified armed hoodlums suspected to be armed robbers, who broke into their residence at Agu-Amede in Isi-Uzo LGA on the said date and abducted her, while her parents escaped. Meanwhile, full-scale manhunt of the assailants and rescue of the victim has since commenced.” he stated.