Apprehension on Thursday, May 7, 2020, enveloped the Okpanam community in Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State, following a violent clash between the community vigilante group and some herdsmen.
The ravaging herdsmen had on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, kidnapped a yet-to-be-identified woman and her daughter, which prompted the local vigilante group into action after they were alerted of the development.
A dependable source in the community told newsmen that the vigilante group mobilized into the forest in search of the kidnapped woman and her daughter.
He added that the suspected herdsmen, who sighted the vigilante members first and who were sprawling for war, fired directly on them with superior weapons, lamenting that the vigilante members were taken unawares.
The source, who pleaded anonymity, lamented that the vigilante leader, simply identified as Emeka Chosen, and one of his members were killed on the spot by the herdsmen while one other member of the group sustained serious bullet injuries on his legs.
Lamenting that the suspected herdsmen have been terrorizing the community in the last two months, he said over seven persons have been kidnapped and released after payment of a ransom in the hitherto peaceful community.
He said the killing of the vigilante members provoked Okpanam community youths, who took to the streets in protest and barricaded the Asaba/Benin/Onitsha expressway.
He said the protest caused traffic gridlock on the expressway and economic setbacks for hours, adding that it took the intervention of security agents to disperse the protesters, who vowed to revenge the deaths of their kinsmen.
Contacted, the public relations officer of Delta State Police Command, Onome Onovwakpoyeya, confirmed the incident, explaining that the two unarmed vigilante members were chased and shot dead by suspected criminals.
Onovwakpoyeya said: “The information we got is that someone was kidnapped, and the vigilante group in Okpanam was alerted and they pursued the kidnappers.
“But because they were not armed, the kidnappers laid an ambush for them and shot two of them dead.”