On Saturday, gunmen reportedly abducted 10 members of the Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) from Obene community in Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State.
The Nation reported that the incident happened at the herders’ colony in the council area around 1.30am.
The gunmen, who allegedly stole more than 300 cows, then demanded a ransom of 4 million naira from the families of the victims.
MACBAN Southeast President Gidado Siddiki made this known on Saturday, according to the newspaper.
Mr Siddiki said herders were attacked at their settlement as they slept and their animals were forcibly taken away by gunmen numbering around 40.
The attackers reportedly invaded the area with weapons such as guns, cutlasses, staves and charms.
“As I speak to you, I have reported the incident to the police and DSS for prompt action,” Mr Siddiki was quoted by the newspaper as saying.
The leader of MACBAN called on the kidnappers to free his members and his cows.
He condemned the politicization of the conflict between herders and host communities across the country.
He said shepherds were always accused of crimes, even in situations where they were attacked.
Mr Siddiki blamed the confrontation between herders, farmers and host communities on the lack of “precise communication”.
He congratulated the governor Charles Soludo of Anambra State for initiating a peace and reconciliation committee to address security challenges in the state and the South East region in general.
State police spokesman Tochukwu Ikenga confirmed the incident.
He asked the leaders of Miyetti Allah in the state to provide more information that would allow the police to open an “aggressive investigation” into the case.
“Yes, we are aware of the incident, but we want the management of Miyetti Allah to provide us with more information, because the kidnappers have made ransom contacts with the families of the victims,” he said. .
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Mr Ikenga, a deputy superintendent of police, urged Miyetti Allah leaders not to resort to self-help in an attempt to rescue victims.
The police spokesman said state police commissioner Echeng Echeng and other security agencies would do everything possible to rescue the victims from their captors.
Attacks by armed men have increased in the Southeast in recent times.
Attacks often target security agencies and government facilities. The recent attack on cattle ranchers appears to be a novelty.
The Nigerian government has blamed the outlaw indigenous people of Biafra for the deadly attacks in the southeast. But the group has repeatedly denied their involvement in the attacks.
The separatist group is leading the agitation for an independent state of Biafra to be separated from the southeast and parts of south-south Nigeria.
The group’s leader, Nnamdi Kanu, is currently being held in Abuja where he is on trial for alleged treason.
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