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Saturday, 25 June 2016

8 Killed as neighbouring communities clash in Cross River, Ebonyi

No fewer than eight persons are feared to have been killed in renewed clashes between communities in Cross River and Ebonyi States.
Cross River State in South-south Nigeria shares common boundary with Ebonyi in the South-east zone.
The skirmishes occurred between Ochienyim community in Amagu, Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State and Adadama community in Abi Local Government Area of Cross River State.
Residents and security sources said five of those allegedly killed were from Adadama community while the remaining three are from Amagu village.
Several persons are also said to have been injured in the attacks.
An Amagu Ikwo community leader, who pleaded not to be named for security reasons, told us that some women from Ochienyim went to harvest cassava in their farms when unknown persons suspected to be from Adadama attacked them.
In the ensuing scuffle, the source said the attackers tried to abduct some of the women but were resisted by the youth who accompanied them.
“A few hours after the initial invasion, over 30 Adadama youth mobilised and invaded the community with dangerous weapons, shooting sporadically at the people,” the source said.

“By the time they left the community having sacked everybody, we came back to count our losses and at the last count, three members of our community were already lying dead while several others sustained various degrees of gunshot injuries.
“Our women had gone to the farm to harvest Cassava to enable them feed their families but most regrettably, even before they were done, some youth from Adadama community, who are in the habit of abducting and killing our people besieged them with the intention of carrying out their nefarious activities but they were resisted by the youth, who went with the women.
“On getting back to the village, the women and youths were still narrating their ordeal when we heard gunshots and everyone started running to safety.
“It was in the process of trying to escape that three of our promising citizens were shot dead and several others injured right in our village by the blood thirsty Adadama youth. We are peace loving people.”
Across the border, a source from Abi, who also pleaded not to be named for safety reasons, blamed their Ebonyi neighbours for killing five members of Adadama community on June 21.
 Apart from those killed, the source said three Adaadama villagers sustained life threatening wounds.
According to him, trouble started when some community women went to harvest cassava on a land bordering Amagu village.
“The women were chased from their farms by Amagu youth. When some of our women fled home to report what happened, our youth went on rescue mission a fight broke out leading to the death of four of our youth,” said the source.
“Four other persons were rushed to the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH, with bullet wounds and one, Ikor Anali, later died at the hospital.”
We gathered that the Director-General of the Primary Health Care Development Agency, Betta Edu, visited some of the victims of the crisis at the UCTH.
Some of those receiving treatment at the hospital include John Edward, 16, Emmanuel George, 20, and Lebo Linus,17.
The State Security Adviser to the Cross River State Governor, Jude Ngaji, said calm has returned to the warring communities.
“Immediately the crisis broke out, I called my colleague in Ebonyi State because we have been talking. There is a joint boundary committee between Ebonyi and Cross River to resolve that crisis,” Mr. Ngaji said.

 “The Cross River police commissioner also called his Ebonyi counterpart and a detachment of mobile policemen were immediately moved in to restore law and order. We intend to keep the police there for some time to ensure that peace is not disrupted while talk is ongoing.”
“But the truth is that the long term solution to that problem is for the National Boundary Commission to return there and do the needful.”
Meanwhile, the Senator representing Ebonyi Central zone, Obinna Ogba has called for security to be beefed up in the area to avoid the constant attacks and killings of innocent people.
Mr. Ogba, who is also the Senate Committee Chairman on Sports, appealed to the National Boundary Commission to urgently visit the area and advise government on possible ways to halt the hostility.
The lawmaker, however, commended security agencies for their quick intervention to quell the crisis and urged the warring communities to remain calm while government explored permanent ways of resolving the problem.
The Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, in Ebonyi State, George Okafor, confirmed the incident.
Mr. Okafor disclosed that only two Ebonyi indigenes were killed during the attack.
“I can tell you that normalcy has been restored in the area but not without casualties on both sides. The commissioner of police has visited the place to see things for herself,” the PPRO said.

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