10 feared dead as Abia and Cross River communities clash

A bloody communal clash going on between Isu clan in Arochukwu Local Government Area of Abia State and their neighbours from Utuma in Biase Local Government Area, Cross river state has reportedly led to the death of 10 persons and scores of houses burnt down.

Reports have it that the bloody clash bursted last week Wednesday, April 18, and had left the Abia community deserted as the masses were reportedly said to have fled the community.

The people of Isu have consequently sent a Save Our Soul, SOS, to the Government of Abia state, to rescue them urgently from being obliterated by Utuma people.

Hon. Nicholas Igwe, a community leader from Isu reported that,

    “Over 10 persons have been killed in the fracas while several houses have been torched in Isu clan. ”

The Nigeria Police Force had altercated the claim, saying that there was no death recorded and that it was just a farm hut that was partially burnt.

Mr. Anthony Ogbizi, the State Commissioner of Police, who confirmed the clash, however said that the arena is now tranquil and that his command and his Cross River State partner have placed their men there to make sure that peace reigned.

He refuted the claim of the people of Isu that one of their people was still being held captive and went ahead to challenge them to call the person’s name.

Igwe Kalu traced the conflict to an ongoing road grading which was being carried out by the Ibeto Group, an indigenous firm that has its interest in the development of lime stone said to have been found in the community of Isu.

    ” Utuma people  became more hostile to my people since the discovery of lime stone in the area was made public and  Utuma people, in collaboration with people from Biase, abducted some members of my community.”

According to reports made by him, they were interupting the road project going on in Isu, pointing out that masses of Isu community sent envoy to them pleading with them to let the work go on and even promised to persuade the company to assist them if they chose to.

He accepted that in reaction, the people of Isu also abducted some of the people of Utuma, but explained that both parties released their captives as a result ofthe intervention of the police and the military men.
    “After that, they went and reinforced and launched an unprovoked attack with sophisticated weapons, killing and destroying houses. The casualties we have recorded in this attack are only on our own side. If the government fails to intervene immediately, our clan may be wiped out.
    “We want the government to bring the National Boundary Commission to, as a matter of urgency, come and demarcate our boundary with Cross River State as the best permanent solution to constant clashes between us and the Cross River people,” Kalu said.

CP Ogbizi, giving details of the clash, reported that his command was first told about the crisis on April 17 and he instantly dispatched his men to maintain order in the arena.
    “However, on Saturday, we got calls from Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, the deputy governor and many others that there was communal clash in the area. We raced there to dominate the place.”

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