Gunmen abduct 3 persons returning from masquerade festival in Kogi

Gunmen: Abduct masquerade in Kogi

By Richard Elesho/ Lokoja

Unidentified gunmen have launched an attack on residents of Aiyedayo-Oroke, an agrarian Community in MopAmuro Local Government Area, LGA of Kogi State, abducting three persons while two others escaped by a whisker.

The victims were returning from the annual Egungun masquerade festival in the area.

It was gathered that the attack occurred on Sunday evening when the victims were travelling from Aiyedayo to Iyah Gbede, the next community in Ijumu LGA.

The unsuspecting travellers encountered a team of gun wielding criminal herdsmen in the mountainous forest range between the two communities.

A social media user had broken the news in a group chat. “Attention. It is brought to my notice the kidnap of 5 Oroke indigenes along Ayedayo Iyah road this evening. According to the information released by Com Ayodele, 2 of them escaped. Let’s pray for the release of other captives by Fulani herdsmen.”

The development has created tension in the otherwise calm community. An indigene of the area who confirmed the incident claimed some stakeholders tried to down play the attack as robbery.

“If they rob or attempted to rob and then forcefully lead people to the bush, is that not kidnapping? Security issues should not be politicised because it affects everybody and we don’t know who would be next.’

As at the time of filing this report, it was not clear if the gunmen have established contact with family members of the victims.

The News reports that the area has recorded cases of abductions by criminal herdsmen. About two years ago, a clergyman with Evangelical Church Winning All, ECWA, Rev. Zacheous Olarewaju was abducted on his farm located between Iyah and Aiyedayo, by criminal Fulani herdsmen. He stayed nearly one week with his kidnappers before relations, friends and church members could mobilise for his ransom.

Another man simply identified as Kunle and a civil servant was also abducted along with his wife on the other side of the forest.

A community leader in the area, Dr. David Atte had sometime ago raised the alarm over the large migration of herdsmen to Kogi West Senatorial District and its potential security implications, in an era of regular clashes between farmers and herders.