Suspected herdsmen with firearms attacked a community in Abia state on Friday, leaving scores of people critically wounded.
Ogbonnaya Nta, police spokesman in the state, confirmed the incident to journalists, and said the command had commenced investigation.
“Ndi Okereke Abam in Ovukwu Autonomous community in Arochukwu local government area was invaded on Friday by suspected armed herdsmen,” he said.
Narrating the incident to journalists in Umuahia, capital of the state, Chukwuma Okubi, president-general of the community, said the incident took place in the afternoon.
He said that six persons sustained bullet and machete wounds and were rushed to a hospital in the area for medical treatment.
The president-general said the herdsmen invaded their farmlands and destroyed their crops.
Okubi, who described the act as “provocative”, said the cattle feasted on bags of rice, harvested by one of the victims.
“The plea by the farmer to the herdsmen to take the cattle away from the rice fell on deaf ears as they drew their machete and gave several cuts on the man,” Okubi said.
“The cattle used to graze on grass in the past but this time, they were led into the farms which are our main source of livelihood.”
Okubi said it was the alarm raised by members of the man’s family, who escaped from the scene that drew the attention of the community.
He said when the information got to the town, the youth mobilised and headed for the farmlands to ascertain the level of destruction and casualty.
“Unfortunately, as soon as the herdsmen saw the youths, they opened fire on them and inflicted machete cut on some of them,” he said.
He said the timely intervention of Leye Oyebade, the commissioner of police, and the chairman, farmers/herdsmen committee set up by the police, saved the situation from degenerating.