No fewer than 21 cows have been shot dead by unknown gunmen who invaded an Odogwa community settlement in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The chairman of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria in Rivers State, Mohammed Abubakar, made the announcement during a media briefing in Port Harcourt.
Abubakar said the incident took place at about 9 p.m. on Wednesday when the ranchers went into town to buy some drinks. Of the 21 cows killed, 15 were pregnant.
He was shocked by the attack, because he said the ranchers lived in harmony with the members of their host community.
Abubakar said: “They shot 21 cows and before the people of Miyetti Allah returned, the gunmen had escaped.
“The cows were lying dead on the ground, just like that. Some have just given birth; some are pregnant. More than 15 were pregnant.
“In the morning they went back to find out what had happened that triggered the attack and they presented their complaint to the monarch of the community and other residents there.
“They also expressed their surprise that they do not know what happened. We have been living peacefully with the people in this community for a long time, even if our cows destroy crops, we pay for the damage.
“We also pay for the place where we live, but things like this happened to us. If the ranchers have done something wrong that people don’t like, they should tell them.”
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Northern Community in Rivers State, Musa Saidu, has appealed for peace and called for a thorough investigation into the incident.
When contacted, State Police Commando spokesman Grace Iringe-Koko said she was in a meeting and asked our reporter to send a message.
She had not provided any feedback at the time of submitting this report on Thursday.