Seven killed in renewed Cross River communal conflict

By Samson Ita, Calabar

No fewer than seven people were reportedly killed in renewed hostilities between Inyima and Onyadama communities in Yakurr and Obubra local government areas of Cross River State in the past two days.

Youths from both neighbouring communities according to eyewitness account have been fighting themselves since Tuesday until Wednesday night using dangerous weapons such as guns and machetes.

In the ensuing melee, vehicles plying the Calabar-Ikom Highway which passes through the area were stopped by warring youths who had blocked the road.

A resident in one of the communities said, “They stopped the vehicles to question commuters to identify those from their rival community and those found to be were killed in cold blood. The fight was unexpected as both villages had peace talks and promised to sheathe their swords.

“Many innocent people lost their lives during the crisis simply because they are from the other community or other villages considered to be sympathetic with their rival community”.

A commuter who narrowly escaped death while travelling through the road said, “I advise people traveling from Calabar to Ikom or Ikom to Calabar. As at yesterday, the Inyima/ Nko people were at Onyadama Bridge shooting sporadically . Many have died, many went back to their various destinations. People now use Abakaliki road. The Government should speedily intervene. Untimely death is not our portion in Jesus name.”

The two communities have been engaged in conflict over a parcel of land since 2008 leading to the killing of many people and destruction of properties.

The Public Relations Officer in the state, Irene Ugbo, told reporters the police commissioner for the state has ordered for the deployment of policemen to the area.

She said anti riot policemen are in the conflict area and normalcy has returned and road blocks mounted by both communities along the Ikom – Calabar highway have been cleared.

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