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15 Jul 2017

Three Feared Killed In Cross River, Ebonyi Communal Crisis

At least three persons were on Friday killed in renewed communal clash between the people of Ofioji in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi and their Ijutum and Idoru neighbours in Obubra LGA of Cross River State.

Southern City News learnt from sources that some residents of Ofioji allegedly attacked their Ijutum and Idoru neighbours at about 10pm on Thursday.

This is coming two days after the Ebonyi State Governor, Mr. David Umahi, had warned soldiers from the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army that war was looming between his state and neighbouring Cross River.

A former Minority Leader in the Cross River State House of Assembly, Mr. Alex Irek, who confirmed the incident, said the attackers were assisted by suspected militants who wore police uniform.

He said, “As I speak to you now, they are carrying out a full scale attack on the Ijutum and Idoru communities with the help of suspected militants in police uniforms in sequence to the statement of the Governor of Ebonyi state that war looms between his state and Cross River state.

“It is a known fact that all the areas in dispute are in Cross River State. I am calling on the Cross River State Government to come to the aid of our people before they are wiped away by Ebonyi State for its rice project.”

Also, an erstwhile Youth President of Ijutum community, Mr. Ben Ebenyam, said three youths have been killed in the attack as at Friday morning, adding that the entire community had fled to Eja, who are being protected by policemen.

He pleaded with authorities to send immediate help to assist in quelling the attack before it escalates.

Ebenyam said, “They came on Thursday night and this morning (Friday) with an armoured personnel carrier. We thought they were policemen on normal duty until they started realising tear gas and shooting sporadically in the community.

“Three youths have been killed and we cannot even take away their bodies because the people are still there shooting. All the women and everyone have found their way to Eja community which is being guarded by mobile policemen. Please, we need government help immediately to stop this problem before it escalates.”

When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Irene Ugbo, said that commissioner of police had deployed policemen to the troubled communities to maintain peace.

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