Gunmen have attacked and set ablaze a truckload of cows along Ezinifite-Uga expressway in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State.
No human being was killed in the attack which happened around 8 am on Sunday.
Anambra police spokesperson Tochukwu Ikenga confirmed the attack in a statement.
He said the police have arrested one suspect in connection with the attack.
Mr Ikenga said Mohammed Lawan, who was one conveying the cattle, has been rescued by the police alongside other occupants noting that only the front of the truck was affected.
He said some residents assisted security agencies in quenching the fire and rescuing some occupants of the vehicle.
“The command has rescued one Mohammed Lawan of Taraba State livestock within Ezinifite and Uga expressway. The rescue was following a distress call today, May 8, at about 8 a.m. of suspected arson and cruelty to animals by gunmen,” he said.
The police spokesperson said Mr Lawan was conveying the livestock to Awarasi, Uga in the council area.
Mr Ikenga, a deputy superintendent of police, said police operatives have been deployed to the area and that normalcy has been restored in the troubled community.
He said the arrested suspect was assisting the police with information about the arsonists that carried out the attack.
A video clip of the incident shared on various WhatsApp groups, showed the truck in flames while some cows were jumping down from the vehicle.
Attacks by gunmen have increased recently in the South-East. The attacks often target security agencies and government facilities.
The latest attack on the vehicle conveying cows was a novelty.
In January, the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) announced ban on the consumption of “Fulani” cows in the South-east.
A statement by the IPOB spokesperson, Emma Powerful, said the ban would take effect from April, 2022, and that the native cows would be used instead in the region for various events.
But it is not clear if the attack on the cows was carried out by the outlawed group.
The Nigerian government has accused IPOB of being responsible for the attacks in the region. But the separatist group has repeatedly denied involvement in the attacks.
IPOB is leading agitation for an independent state of Biafra to be carved out from the South-east and some parts of the South-south Nigeria.
The leader of the separatist group, Nnamdi Kanu, is currently being detained in Abuja where he is facing trial for treason.
Editor’s note: The featured image in this story is from a past attack on a cow truck in the state.