Boundary Clash Claims Eight Lives in Ebonyi

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•  Seven persons killed in Ondo bank robbery

James Sowole in Akure and Benjamin Nworie in Abakaliki

The police in Ebonyi State have confirmed the killing of eight persons, including a three-month baby, in the resumed boundary dispute between two communities in the state.

While six of the victims who are said to be from the same family were burnt to death in a bus they were traveling on, two others were also killed from bullet wounds they sustained from the attacks.

This is coming as seven persons were reportedly killed while no less than five others injured yesterday when armed robbers robbed First Bank in Idoani, Ose Local Government Area of Ondo State.

The boundary clash occured on the road leading to the Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike, near the border between the two communities.

The police spokesperson in the state, Loveth Odah, confirmed the incident, saying it happened last Saturday.

According to her, one of the victims is a wife of a police officer serving in the state but who is on ‘secondment’ to Borno State to fight insurgency.

Odah said: “It is a longstanding dispute between Ndiagu Alike community in Ikwo Local Government Area and Enyibichiri community in Abakaliki Local Government Area that took place last Saturday.

“A vehicle was seen burning on the road allegedly set ablaze by fighters from one of the communities.

“The victims were coming from Abakaliki where they attended a matriculation of their son. Five of them were from the same family, including a little baby and one is a neighbour who joined them. They were burnt beyond recognition.”

The spokesperson said the driver, on sighting the gun-wielding attackers, tried to reverse the car but ended up in a ditch.

The gunmen reportedly opened fire on the car and some bullets hit the fuel tank, which led to the car fire that killed the six occupants.

“Also three other persons were attacked and two of them killed. One of the victims was the wife of a police officer deployed to Borno State,” she added.

The state Commissioner for Border Peace and Internal Security, Dr. Kenneth Ugbala, said some occupants of other cars behind the burnt bus were also injured by bullets shot by the attackers, adding that “they are receiving treatment at the hospital in Abakaliki.

He said government has deployed more security operatives to the area to restore normalcy.

“The state Deputy Governor, Kelechi Igwe, will soon visit the area to ascertain the level of damage,” he said.

The communities have been having a land tussle for decades, and attempts to settle the dispute by successive administrations in the state proved abortive.

In a related development, seven persons were reportedly killed while no less than five others injured yesterday when armed robbers robbed First Bank in Idoani, Ose Local Government Area of Ondo State.

It was learnt that the robbers reportedly stormed the bank located at Isewa quarters of the ancient town around 2 p.m. in a robbery that lasted for about one hour.

A source said the robbers announced their arrival in the premises of the financial institution by shooting sporadically as they used dynamite to break the bank’s security door.

The source said at the end of the operation, seven persons, including the bank officials, a police inspector and two persons who were at the bank to use Automated Teller Machine (ATM).

Five persons who were also reportedly sustained life-threatening injuries are receiving treatment at the General Hospital in Idoani.

Soldiers who were drafted to the area were said to have engaged the robbers in a shootout, leading to the arrest of one of them while others escaped with an undisclosed amount of money.

While the operation lasted, fear enveloped the town as school pupils in the town were locked inside the school.

As at the time of filing this report, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Undie Adie, was on the way to the town to assess the situation.