By Okon Bassey
Three persons have been feared dead and four reportedly abducted in a renewed clash between the people of Usaka Uko in Ikwuano Local Government Area of Abia State and Nkari in Ini Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
THISDAY learned that the latest conflict between the two communities occurred in the early hours of January 22, 2021, when some youths suspected to have come from Usaka Uko allegedly ambushed indigenes of Nkari.
In the attack, the people of Nkari were alleged to have been shot and their motorcycles carted away.
Similar incident occurred last August where 11 persons were allegedly killed and scores injured in both camps.
An elder in Nkari, Major Tony Isenyeng (rtd), told a delegation of the Civil Liberties Organisation, Akwa Ibom State, led by its Chairman, Franklyn Isong, who visited the deserted community that the community has become helpless over the continuous bloodletting occasioned by the constant clash.
He called on the National Boundary Commission (NBC) to hasten up in giving a clear demarcation of the boundary between them, adding that security guards should be permanently mounted in the area to forestall further crisis.
Narrating the incident, a former councillor in Nkari ward 4, Hon. Benjamin Christopher Akpan, said: “last Friday, which was our market day, our attackers lay ambush and killed our people. They killed my younger brother and my other relative with her husband. We found their corpses this morning. I’m sure they both went to the early market
“Four persons, whom were said to have passed the road, could not be found as I’m speaking with you now. May be they were abducted because we have not seen them since. The issue is beyond our community; how can we be living in perpetual fear in our father’s land?”
Also, a member representing Ini state constituency, Hon. Emmanuel Bassey, who is also the Chief Whip of the state Assembly, described the crisis as a guerilla warfare in that the youths would lay ambush and shoot anyone who crossed the road, calling for a full security presence in the area, even as he said the federal government was expected to mandate the NBC to urgently do the demarcation of the boundary.
On his efforts so far on the matter, Bassey said: “In my first and second term in the state House of Assembly, I’ve moved a motion of urgent public importance on the need to rescue the people of Nkari. I told the assembly in October last year that if the crisis was not addressed, it would worsen and deteriorate to the extent that we won’t be able to manage it.”
On his part, the Clan Head of the Nkari, His Highness Udoette Edon, called on the state government to construct the Mbiabong/Nkari road in order to link the Nkari people to their kith and kin in Akwa Ibom State, noting that lack of motorable road contributes to the attacks the Nkari people are facing from the people of Usaka Uko.
The monarch called on the state and federal governments to come to the aid of the people of Nkari by providing them electricity, potable water, primary and secondary schools, and healthcare facilities. He urged the state and federal government to take over the disputed farmland and use same for investment that would be beneficial to the people.