It was a bloody Friday night in Ofioji community, Izzi Local Government Area (LGA) of Ebonyi State as no fewer than nine persons including a pregnant woman were killed following alleged invasion of the community by their neighbouring Ijutun-Idoru community in Obubura LGA of Cross River State.
Though information was still sketchy as at the time of filing this report, it was gathered that the people of Ijutun-Odoru in Cross River allegedly invaded Ofioji Izzi community in the late hours of Friday, shooting sporadically following renewed hostilities between the two communities over boundary disputes.
Sunday Sun gathered that about nine persons were killed while 56 houses were burnt in the attack, which lasted till the early hours of yesterday.
Over 58 lives have been lost while more than 1,000 houses have been burnt since the crisis erupted.
Addressing journalists yesterday at where some of the survivors were taking refuge, the Head of Ofioji community, Chief Nwobegu Mbam painted a gory picture of how they were allegedly slaughtered by the invaders from Ijutun-Odoru community, describing their action as callous.
He called on the state and federal governments to quickly come to their aid before they would be completely wiped out.
Mbam alleged that during the attack, a pregnant woman he identified as Ukamaka Nwifuru lost her life while houses belonging to natives of the community were razed by the invaders.
“It was very late on Friday night; we had all gone to bed but suddenly a very terrifying sound was heard in our community and in the ensuing confusion, we ran out only to see many houses on fire. That was when we knew that the people of Cross River have invaded our community again.
“They were shooting our people without mercy; they burnt our houses and
carted away our property,” he alleged.
When contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to the Ebonyi State Governor, Emmanuel Uzor, described the incident as barbaric and called on the law enforcement agencies to investigate it.
Uzor who said it was height of idiocy for anybody to link the Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, to the crisis and called for the arrest of a former lawmaker in Cross River State House of Assembly whom, he alleged, had been arming his constituents to go to war with their neighbouring Ebonyi community.
“The Governor made a passionate appeal to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai over the spate of killing of the people of Ebonyi State by their Cross River counterparts.
He made the supplication which was well coded by the Chief of Army Staff and what we heard again was this provocative carnage and wanton killing of our people by the Cross River people and a former lawmaker could descend so low to say that the crisis came as a result of Governor Umahi’s appeal for help and deployment of more soldiers,” said Uzor.
The Police Public Relations Officer in Ebonyi State, DSP Jude Madu, said he was aware of the age-long crisis but had not been briefed on this latest one.