Bandits suspected to be Fulani herdsmen have attacked a coaster school bus belonging to a Catholic school, St Paul’s College, Eke, in Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State, killing a female student.
The bandits, suspected to be perpetrators of kidnapping activities in the area, also left several other students with severe bullet wounds, reports The Nation.
It was learnt that many of the victims with bullet wounds are currently battling for survival in an undisclosed hospital.
It was further gathered that the gunmen had shot at the school bus in an attempt to stop the vehicle and abduct the students.
But the driver braved it without stopping.
The kidnappers however abducted a traditional ruler from nearby Affa along Eke-Egede-Affa Road while he was returning from a security meeting with chairman of Udi Local Government.
A viral video sighted by our correspondent displayed the lifeless body of the victim, as well as some of the survivors of the attack.
A voice in the video narrated thus: “Herdsmen attacked our students, they were going home after school; one of them was shot dead; four students were shot, one died instantly; they have done enough.
“See the corpse of the little student they have murdered; this one is unconscious, (pointing at another victim) we are praying that God will sustain her; she sustained four bullet wounds.
“This was done by the Fulanis operating at Eke-Egede Road; these are the ones that survived; the government should come to our rescue. Our place is now a death zone.”
The Principal of the school, Rev. Fr. Frank in a phone interview with newsmen, confirmed the attack.
“It is true; we dismissed by 3:30 pm yesterday, as the students were going home, the bus they were in was attacked by gunmen; some of them received bullet wounds, of which one later died in the hospital.
“That was between 4:30-5 pm; the gunmen just opened fire on them.
“We feel so saddened to lose such a promising young girl in this circumstance.”
Other community sources told our correspondent that the area had been a den of kidnappers for years with security agencies unable to stop the activities of the ravaging Fulani herdsmen.
A community leader, who spoke under anonymity, said many victims of kidnap in Udi and Ezeagu areas are kept within the same location until ransom is paid.
He said those who could not meet up with the ransom demand were usually killed after a few days.
He said the forest spanning about 15 kilometres, called ‘Ofia-Akwu’, had remained a death zone, with several lives lost in the past in the hands of the herdsmen who were into kidnapping.
“The security agencies know that they have been occupying that location for several years now, committing all manner of crimes.
“We don’t know why it is difficult to flush them out from that location.
“Many lives have been lost to their murderous activities on that Eke-Egede Road,” he lamented.
Similarly, a famous traditional ruler was also reportedly abducted by the same gang after the attack on the school bus.
A message said the monarch from Affa “was kidnapped along Eke-Egede-Affa Road after a security meeting with chairman of Udi Local Government and men of our high profile neighbourhood watch.
“We pray for his safe rescue and return in Jesus name. Oh! God, our efforts shall not be in vain,” said Offorkansi Hyginus, PRO, Affa security committee.
Meanwhile, an attempt was made to obtain a reaction from the Police Public Relations Officer, Enugu State Command, DSP Daniel Ndukwe, but he requested that a text message be sent to him.
He was yet to respond to the message as of the time of filing this report.