20 Feared Dead in Cross River, Ebonyi Communal Clash


Bassey Inyang in Calabar

At least 20 people have been feared killed following the outbreak of communal war between the Ofonekom community in Obubra Local Government Area of Cross River State and their neighbours in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

Information from the Obubra, community, about 250 kilometres from Calabar, the state capital, alleged that full scale fighting erupted in the early hours of yesterday when the Izzi community launched an all-out offensive on Ofonekom.

Sources from Ofonekom who refused to be quoted, said crisis between both communities in Cross River State, and Ebonyi State have been brewing for something before the outbreak of sometime hostilities.

The remote and immediate causes of the inter-state boundary clash have been linked to dispute over ownership of farmlands between both communities.
Information from the community indicate that scores of people were killed while several houses were razed in Ofonekom.

“I have been told from my community that not less than 20 people have been killed. Among them are four members of my community that I knew personally. Many of our people have been killed, and not less than five houses have been razed. Many people have ran away from the community. I have also heard that one soldier who crossed from Ebonyi on illegal duty died. The federal government should step in and do something to stop this mindless attacks on our people. It is getting out of hand,” a community leader from the Obubra community who craved annonymity told THISDAY yesterday.
The claim that a soldier suspected to have been playing the role of a mercenary for the Ebonyi community was killed could not be independently verified by THISDAY.

However, reacting to the outbreak of the violent clash between the two boundary communities, the Commissioner of Police in Cross River State, Mr. Hafiz Inuwa, confirmed the communal war between the two communities but debunked the claims that about 20 people were killed.

But the commissioner who did not put any figure to the human casualty, said some houses were razed.

He said a good number of policemen had been deployed to the community to restore law and order, and ensure that that calm returns to the community.