Gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen have kidnapped an eight-year-old girl in Enugu, demanding a ransom of N15 million.

The girl was identified as the daughter of the Chairman, Agu-Amede community Neighbourhood Watch Group, Mr Sunday Olinya popularly know as ‘Sunday Sharia Driver’.

Agu-Amede community is in Isi-Uzo Local Government Area of Enugu State and has boundary with Benue State.

The community had witnessed several Fulani herdsmen attacks including series of abduction for ransom which were barely reported.

The recent incident occurred on Sunday morning when the herdsmen numbering about seven stormed Olinya’s house with AK-47 rifles to attack him but he miraculously escaped.

They now kidnapped his daughter, Nmesoma after allegedly ransacked the house and carted away some valuables.

The attack, sources told our correspondent was not unconnected with the insistence of Agu-Amede community which Olinya was also their chairman that herdsmen should not come to destroy farm crops in their community three weeks ago after over 50 heacters of rice farms that were almost ready for harvest were destroyed by cows.

Orinya, who confirmed the attack and the abduction of his daughter on Monday in a telephone interview with our correspondent, said that he had reported the incident to the police and some policemen had visited his house twice.

Narrating the incident, he said “I was sleeping around 1am on Sunday morning and I heard a bang on the door. I was sleeping at the living room so immediately I woke up. I heard the second bang I stood up and asked who is that? But I got no response.

“I went close to one of the windows and looked outside, I saw two Fulani herdsmen with AK-47 rifles positioned to shoot. I rushed to the back door, I equally saw two herdsmen equally positioned with their AK-47. All the light in the house were off but the security lights were on and my wife and children were still sleeping in their rooms.

“And they (herders) had positioned themselves around my house. So, the only option available since there was no network to call for assistance was to find away to escape. Luckily for me there is one window in the house that had no burglary proof and I had to escape from there.”

He added, “immediately, they noticed that I had escaped they started shooting indiscriminately at my direction but I was unhurt. However, in other not to attract much attention, they rushed, broke one of the windows and went inside the house. They ransacked everywhere, collected some valuables including money and my wife’s phone and kidnapped my eight-year-old daughter who was sleeping.

“My wife told me that they looked for her as she over heard them asking my daughter where is her mother. According to her, when they heard the shooting she and my son woke up and hid inside one of the rooms but my daughter was still sleeping in her room.”

Olinya, however, noted that his family has established contact with them through the wife’s phone and that they are demanding N15 million ransom for her release. “They told a family member who was in constant contact with them that they came to killing me and not to abduct my daughter, that I had unfinished business with them.”

Asked what kind of unfinished business does he have with them, Olinya said “I don’t know. What I know is that my community asked them about a month ago not to come to destroy our farm crops. This happened after they destroyed about 50 heacters of rice farms in Akpofh Agu-Amede with their cows.

“So, during the incident one of the owners of the cows said that his boy was wounded and insisted that he must be treated. Our community sent N50,000 to the Alhaji for the treatment of the boy herder he claimed was injured. Our people didn’t kill their cattle or their people. The same Alhaji had come to my house with other leaders on two occasions with huge money to allow them to graze their cattle in my community which were turned down.”

The State Police Public Relations Officer Daniel Ndukwe, has confirmed the attack and abduction of the little girl, but denied that the attackers were Fulani herdsmen.

Ndukwe said, “what we had is a case of alleged abduction of one 8-year old Nmesoma Olinya (f), on 21/11/2021 at about 3.48am, by yet-to-be identified armed hoodlums suspected to be armed robbers, who broke into their residence at Agu-Amede in Isi-Uzo LGA on the said date and abducted her, while her parents escaped.

“Meanwhile, full-scale manhunt of the assailants and rescue of the victim has since commenced,” and promised to communicate further development to newsmen.

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