The Benin-Ore Expressway was yesterday blocked after youths in the Ofumwengbe community in the Ovia North-East Local Government Area of Edo State, protested the rape and killing of a woman (yet-to-be-identified) by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
It was gathered that the victim, who had gone to her farm on Monday, failed to return, prompting the community to raise a search party for her.
When the woman’s corpse was eventually found on her farm, one of her arms and legs had been cut off by her assailants.
It was also gathered that the victim, who got married last year, was allegedly raped by the suspected herdsmen before she was killed.
It was learned that herdsmen in the area had fled for fear of being attacked by the youths.
The angry youths took the body of the victim to the expressway, where a bonfire was made to protest her death.
The protest, which caused a gridlock on the expressway, was later brought under control by security agents.
An eyewitness, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Punch that he spent four hours in the gridlock before the security agents were able to disperse the crowd.
He said, “I was coming to Lagos State when we suddenly encountered the gridlock. I learned that a woman went to the farm and herdsmen raped her on the farm before killing her. The villagers took the body of the woman, brought it to the expressway and stopped vehicular movement on both sides of the road.
“The youth went after the herdsmen and got hold of one of them, who had a gun on him, but there was no bullet in the gun. They got hold of him and killed him, cut his leg and brought his body to the expressway.
“It took the intervention of policemen, soldiers, and other security agents before we were able to go. The security agents at first tried to pacify the youth but when they were not listening, they had to use force to disperse them.”
However, when contacted, the Edo State Commissioner of Police, DanMallam Muhammed, denied the alleged clash between the herdsmen and the youth, adding that the cause of the woman’s death had not been ascertained.
He said, “The youth blocked the road because a woman died on the farm and they alleged that herdsmen killed her. They did not wait for police investigation but blocked the road and brought hardship on travelers, who did not know anything about it.
“The woman went to the farm and this morning, she was discovered dead. The youth suspected it that herdsmen killed her but nobody saw the herdsmen killing her.”
In a related development, gunmen yesterday attacked and kidnapped 28 travelers along the Ado-Akure highway in Ondo State.