Herdsmen crisis: Residents flee Ogun villages, head for Benin Republic

No fewer than 28 lives have been lost in various communities in Yewa North Local Government Area, Ogun State in the last one week or thereabout as a result of deadly attacks believed to have been carried out by herdsmen. The attacks and the resultant deaths were in spite of repeated assurances of protection by the state government and security agencies.

Hostilities between herdsmen and residents of about 29 agrarian communities in the aforementioned part of Ogun State dates back to as far as 15 years. The affected villages had been attacked in recent times by terror herdsmen who were said to have camped at Eggua, a neighbouring town from where they moved with their hordes of cattle, ravaging farmlands within the Ketu-Yewa communities, which share borders with the Republic of Benin.

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The villages include Ateru, Moro, Ologun, Agbon-Ojodu, Asa, Igbota, Ogunba-Aiyetoro, Oke-Odo, Ibore, Gbokoto, Iselu, Ijale, Ohunbe, Igbeme, Owode-Ketu, Igan-Alade, Lashilo, Oja Odan, Ijoun, Ateru, Moro, Ologun, Iyana Meta, Igbooro, Egbeda and Kuse, among others.

The armed herdsmen, who usually lead their flock in search of pastures because of the rich vegetation in the Ketu-speaking villages, have also been fingered in the destruction of cash crops belonging to the native farmers as well as killings and raping of women who are mostly natives of the communities.

The face-off peaked late last year when the residents prevented the herders from grazing and banished them from the communities.

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The Nation had exclusively reported how some soldiers attached to 35 Artillery Brigade, Alamala, Abeokuta, later escorted the herders to the villages and openly flogged residents for rejecting them.

In a bid to discountenance the report, the soldiers again visited the communities a week after the story was published asking the victims to recant, but the brutalised residents refused.

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