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9 People Killed in Ebonyi, Cross River Renewed Communal Clash

From Ignatius Okpara

EBONYI, NIGERIA (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Nine persons including a pregnant woman were at the weekend reportedly murdered in renewed deadly communal cash between Ofioji in Izzi council area of Ebonyi state, South- East Nigeria and Ijutun-Idoru of Obubura local government area of Cross River State, South- South Nigeria.

It was gathered that the people of Ijutun-Odoru in Cross River allegedly invaded Ofioji Izzi community shooting sporadically and in the process, killed about nine persons, while no fewer than 56 houses were completely razed down.

AFRICAN EXAMINER recalled that Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi, had last week at an event in Enugu, informed the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai of a looming war between the two states.

Head of Ofioji community, Chief Nwobegu Mbam who spoke to newsman from his hideout where they were taking refuge, painted a gory picture of how they were slaughtered by the Cross River militia whom he described as “callous”and called on the State and Federal governments to come to their aid before they are completely wiped out.

He hinted during the attack, a pregnant woman whom he gave her name as Ukamaka Nwifuru allegedlly lost her life while houses belonging to natives of the community were razed by the rampaging fighters.

According to him, “it was very late on Friday night, we had all gone to bed but suddenly, a very terrifying sound was heard in our community and in the ensuing confusion, we ran out only to see many houses on fire and that was when we knew that the people of Cross River have invaded us again. They were shooting our people without mercy; they burnt our houses and carted away our property”

He alleged that, over 58 lives have been lost while more than 1000 houses have been reportedly burnt since 8 years ago when the crisis erupted.
Reacting to the development, Governor Umahi who spoke to newsman through his Chief Press Secretary, Emmanuel Uzor, described the incident as barbaric and called on the law enforcement agencies to investigate the level of involvement of a former minority leader in the Cross River State House of Assembly, Alex Irek who had allegedly been indicted by a white paper on the origin of the intractable crisis in the two communities.

The statement which said it was the height of idiocy to link Ebonyi State Governor to the crisis called for the arrest of the former lawmaker for allegedly arming his constituency to go into war with their neighbouring Ebonyi community.

“The Governor made a passionate appeal to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai over the spate of killing of the people of Ebonyi state by their Cross River counterparts.

“He made the supplication which was well coded by the Chief of Army Staff and what we heard again was this provocative carnage and wantom killing of our people by the Cross River people and a former lawmaker could descend so low to say that the crisis came as a result of Governor Umahi’s appeal for help and deployment of more soldiers,”.

AFRICAN EXAMINER learnt that residents of the two communities have deserted the areas for fear of the unknown.


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