Yesterday, over 1000 women and youths decried and opposed the incessant rape of women, destruction of economic crops by Fulani herdsmen who have overrun most of the agrarian communities in Imo State.
One of the victims, a middle-aged woman from Ihe Umuapu autonomous community in Ohaji Egbema Council Area of the state, said the herdsmen swooped upon her in the farm, while she was harvesting cassava, and raped her to a coma. She literally escaped death by the whiskers after the herdsmen took turns to rape her. The woman called on security agencies to come to the aid of the community to forestall further attacks. She adds that several women abused by the assailants did not have the courage to make it public.
It would be recalled that in 2010, a violent clash with the herdsmen resulted in the death of three members of the community.
Meanwhile, the committee, set up by the council area to tackle the menace of Fulani herdsmen, has called on the Imo House of Assembly to assist them in their fight against the invasion and threat of the herdsmen, noting that their means of livelihood had been totally destroyed.
The leader of the group, Mr. Christian Anihe lamented, "Our crops have all been destroyed by the herds of cattle."
Anihe deplored the growing incidences of rape, assault and murder of the women of the community by the Fulani herdsmen, saying the women no longer went to their farms for fear of being attacked.
The traditional leader of the community, Mr. Sabastine Eze, called for intervention of the state government to ameliorate the sufferings of the people like it did for flood victims.
Member representing Ohaji Egbema State Constituency, Mr. Luke Chukwu, also lamented the devastation of their farmlands by the cattle. He condemned the continued attacks on the people by the herdsmen.
He said a swift and precise approach would be followed to provide a lasting solution to the problem in the area while commending the people for maintaining peace.