By Bassey Inyang in Calabar
No fewer than 10 people, mostly youths have been killed following renewed violent clashes between the people of Usumutong and Ediba communities in Abi Local Government Area of Cross River State.
Scores of the combatants from both communities have also sustained various degrees of injuries, but there was no account of the destruction of any property.
Information gathered from sources from both communities indicated that the casualties from the violent conflict which erupted again from Saturday were from both communities.
An eyewitness from one of the warring communities who spoke through phone, said trouble started on Friday following allegation that youths from Ediba had gone to a land in dispute between both communities when a funeral ceremony was going on in Usumutong.
The witness who pleaded not to be quoted said: “They are still quarrelling over a piece of land. They are saying that the last time there was a conflict, the Usumutong people inflicted so much casualties on them, so they were looking for an opportunity to strike back and did so on Friday. It was a revenge attack.
“The people of Usumutong who suffered the attack are planning a counterattack from what I am hearing because it is like today (Monday) is the market day of the Ediba people.
“It is actually a sad situation because the two communities are brothers and sister. There is no difference between them and they are just killing themselves like that. It is just animalistic. In this age of civilisation people are still doing such.”
An account from another anonymous source from area stated that the recent war had broken out due to suspicion that an Ediba youth who was a cyclist was attacked on Friday and murdered by some gunmen suspected to be persons from Usumutong.
Reacting to the fresh round of violent hostilities between both communities, the State Security Adviser, Mr. Jude Ngaji, said security personnel have been drafted to the warring communities to restore calm.
Ngaji who said the state governor, Professor Ben Ayade, was really angry over the resurgence of the communal clash said the state government would not tolerate a recurrence of any clash.
“The governor is very livid with this development because great efforts have been made to bring peace to the area. We had gotten respected leaders of both communities and plans were still on to ensure both communities co-exist peacefully. Then all of a sudden this happens. There will no longer be any Mr. Nice Guy in dealing with this problem. “The big stick still will be employed this time to check the problem. The present administration will ensure that though the problem has been age long, it will end once and for all. We will ensure that every perpetrator of this crisis will be brought to book,” Ngaji said.