By Ovie Okpare & Onome Oghenetega
Emotions were high on Thursday when victims of herdsmen attacks in Uwheru Kingdom in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State were given ‘heroic’ mass burial a month after they were gruesomely killed by armed-wielding herders in their farms.
Aside emotions, tears and curses rained the air during the burial ceremony held in Agadama, one of the communities in Uwheru Kingdom that is mostly affected by the herdsmen attacks across the state.
The ten victims whose corpses were exhumed last month by locals and security agencies discovered their shallow graves in the forest of Uwheru communities where the armed-wielding gunmen had buried their bodies.
Among the victims buried were Dennis Itoje, Philip Emesharueke, Arhiakpore Steven, Oghenekparobo Emmanuel, Andrew Itiroghene Useh, Ochuko Ovwanre, Samson Coach Ogheneoruese, Kotor Boy, Abura Ejuweyere and Freeborn Isreal.
Their burial is coming following conclusion of autopsy conducted at the Ughelli Central Hospital where it was affirmed that the victims were shot dead by the herdsmen.
The remains of the ten deceased in ‘white caskets’ were transported in a truck from the morgue of the Ughelli Central Hospital at about 10:45am to Agadama where they were buried amidst wailings by their kinsmen.
A briefed Christian service was held in their honour at Agadama Secondary School where their kinsmen dressed in black attires had gathered.
A delegation of apex socio-cultural umbrella of Urhobo people worldwide, Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) led by Chief Capt. Anthony Onoharigho (1st Deputy PG), Chief Sir Francis Ifie (2nd Deputy PG) and Chief Kenneth Iwhewhe, National Secretary also attended the burial ceremony.
The people of the kingdom also rained curses on the herdsmen and berated the Federal government of President Muhammadu Buhari and the security agencies for treating herdsmen attacks in their communities with kid gloves.
The deceased were buried in central tomb built for nine of the victims few metres away from the Agadama Secondary School while one of the deceased who hailed from Ofoni, an Urhobo community in Bayelsa State, was taken home after the service for burial.
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Speaking at the burial ceremony, State Commissioner for Higher Education, Prof Patrick Muoboghare decried the killing of the victims by herdsmen, stating that their kinsmen can no longer go their farm lands owing to the herdsmen attacks.
According to him, the armed-wielding herdsmen who killed the deceased farmers were foreign Fulani herdsmen from Mali, Chad and other parts of Africa.
He urged the Federal Government to ensure that the herdsmen were evacuated from their communities to enable their farmers return to their farming businesses.