C’River: Three feared killed in fresh communal clash

At least three persons have been reportedly killed in a fresh communal clash which broke out in Odukpani local government area of Cross River State with several properties worth millions of naira also destroyed and many people injured.

The Vice-Chairman of Odukpani Local Government Area Mr. Aniofiok Inyang who visited the area on Wednesday confirmed to journalists that three persons were reportedly killed.

He said: “Two from among Okoyong community and one among the Ikot Offiong people.”

He disclosed that the clash was between the Ikot Offiong people who went to settle in Ubambat, one of the villages within the Okoyong Community and they are now fighting the people of Okoyong.

He said he went to appeal for calm and restraint and that Security agencies have been mobilized to the area.

In a swift reaction, the Police Public Relation Officer in the state, DSP Irene Ugbo told Vanguard that no one was killed but some person were injured and some houses were torched.

She said: ” Nobody was killed but we have deployed personnel to affected communities to restore peace and we hope that the place will be calm soon.

” Two persons were injured, there no death recorded in the place as I speak with you,” Irene said.

However, another source who is an indigene of the Okoyong Community, Com. Ekpeyong Akiba further confirmed t the incident stressing that tension was still high in Okoyong.

“Tension is still high in the Okoyong Communities as people have started parking and relocating from the community.”

Explaining further, he said that the Ikot Offiong People sparked the fresh crisis on the early hours of Wednesday when they suddenly mobilized from Ubambat village, a place they forcefully occupied in the Okoyong Community.

“From Ubambat, they moved to Usongurua towards Akpap-Okoyong chanting war songs and attacking buildings and persons along the way, vowing that others will also be made refugees like them since they are asked to leave Ubambat.”

“Ikot Offiong people are part of Odukpani Local Government area and they have age long communal clash with the Oku people in Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. The Oku People had since displaced the Ikot Offiong people from their land.

“The Okoyong Community knew that the Ikot Offiong people in want of a place to settle forcefully occupied the Ubambat village. Okoyong people did not challenge them being that they of the same local government area origin.

” But when it was noticed that they (Ikot Offiong People) have sustained their war with the Oku people and that from Ubambat they have been going out to commit crimes, pressure came on the Okoyong Community elders, including accusations from the Oku Community that the Okoyong community is backing Ikot Offiong to attack Oku.”

“It is at that instance that Okoyong elders sent a message advising the Ikot Offiong settlers in Ubambat to cease staying there to launch attack at other communities or commit crimes.