The leadership of Asa Liberation Movement (ALM) in Abia has called on the State Government to urgently intervene in the herders/natives crisis to prevent it from escalating.
The call is contained in a statement signed by the group’s President, Secretary and Publicity Secretary, Messrs Emeka Adiele, Uju Ihunanyachukwu and Charles Samankwe, respectively, and made available to newsmen in Aba on Thursday.
The call was coming on the heels of the recent killing of two persons by suspected herdsmen at Umuorie Asa in Ukwa West Local Government Area of the state.
The group identified the deceased as Mrs Nwanyieze Ogbonna and Mr Chimezie Nwaobilor from Umuachigide and Umuagbudu Umuorie.
It condemned the occupation of their forests by herdsmen, from where they allegedly unleash attacks on the natives.
It alleged that the victims were kidnapped and killed by herdsmen on June 18.
It expressed concern that the killer herdsmen were enjoying special protection, hence had not been apprehended by security agencies over their dastardly acts in the area.
“It is the protection that has continued to give them impetus to be more brutal in their attacks on our people,” the group added.
It further noted that Asa land, “a once peaceful and serene environment suitable for all kinds of agricultural production, has been infiltrated and now lie waste”.
It further decried the forceful acquisition of some parts of the community’s land by the State Government for a cattle market.
It argued that the measure exposed the natives to avoidable herdsmen’s attacks, including kidnapping and killing.
The group stated that the community was tired of harbouring killer herdsmen in their land.
It stated: “Our hospitality should not be a source of our death.
“We ask Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu to tell the herders to vacate all our bushes with immediate effect to avert avoidable problems.
“We also ask the governor to direct the 144 Battalion, Obehie, to release suspected killer herdsmen in their custody to the state government for eviction.”
The group warned that any further attacks on an Asa indigene would be resisted with full force.
It also urged the state government to relocate the military operatives at the Obehie Market “to enable our people to trade and feed their families”.
It stated that the community closed the market since three days, in the wake of the latest killing of its people.
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