Tension has heightened in Enugu State, following the arrest of a suspected Fulani herdsman, with an AK 47 rifle, at Ugbawka in Nkanu East LGA of the State.
The herdsman was arrested on Thursday by vigilant Ugbawka youths who were suspicious of his mission in their community, with a high caliber assault rifle.
It was reliably gathered that the youths immediately handed over the arrested herdsman to the police and the suspect was in the custody of the Enugu State Police Command as at the time this report was filed yesterday.
Further information obtained by our correspondent, revealed that the security agencies including the army and police swiftly responded to the security threat.
A detachment of soldiers from the 82 Division of Nigerian Army and five police units including the Anti-Terrorism Squad, Anti-Cult and Special Anti-Robbery Squad, were immediately deployed to the community
Although the mission of the armed herdsman to Ugbawka community could not be ascertained as at press time, a source said there was a history of frequent confrontation between herdsmen and the indigenes who were mostly rice farmers.
According to our sources, at a point, most of the rice farmers abandoned their farms over the confrontation with herdsmen.
Our findings further revealed that some prominent indigenes of the community recently organised themselves into a cooperative society and set up a vigilante group, comprising of youths, to safeguard their rice farms.
The herdsmen were said to have viewed the step taken by the cooperative society as an affront against them.
When contacted, Ebere Amaraizu, the spokesman of the Enugu State Police Command, confirmed our report.
Amaraizu, a Superintendent of Police (SP), said the Commissioner of Police, DanMallam Mohammed has visited Ugbawka community to assess the situation.
“As I speak with you, I am on my way back to Enugu. I am in the entourage of the Commissioner of Police. We went to Ugbawka to assess the situation and there is no cause for alarm. There is calm” Amaraizu said.
While displaying firearms recovered by its Taskforce on mopping up of illegal arms recently, the Enugu State Police Command called on all those who are still in possession of illegal firearms to surrender them, warning that anybody caught would be dealt with.
It could be recalled that Enugu State came under deadly attack by herdsmen twice in 2016.
At least seven people were killed when herdsmen attacked Nimbo in Uzo-Uwani LGA while an attack on Akagbe Ugwu community in Nkanu West LGA, left two persons dead.