Five feared dead in Akwa Ibom, Cross River communal clash
Calabar-Itu highway unsafe, say commuters
In a renewed communal clash between the people of Ikot Offiong and Oku Iboku in Cross River and Akwa Ibom states, no fewer than five persons are said to have lost their lives and several others injured.
The member representing Itu Local Council in Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Idongesit Ntuen, said the attack on Monday came to the people as a surprise, as the matter had been settled in 2005.
He alleged that the recent attack occurred when the people of Oku Iboku and adjoining villages were about to harvest their crops.
Besides, a witness told The Guardian that several houses, including a Julius Berger’s truck and other vehicles were razed around the Calabar-Itu Head Bridge and adjoining communities.
A community leader in Oku Iboku, Chief Ene Essien, said the latest incident occurred after a series of attempts by the people of Ikot Offiong to reoccupy the fishing area after they were forced out by his people failed.
According to him, the crisis started around the fishing area, but later escalated to the Calabar-Itu Road when the people of Ikot Offiong returned for reprisal that led to the death of five persons after sporadic shootings.
The Guardian gathered that the invaders returned with armed hoodlums in 11 buses and several flying boats, but were later repelled by a combined team of soldiers, anti-riot policemen and men of the State Anti-Robbery and Kidnapping Squad (SARS).
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Cordelia Nwawe (ASP), confirmed the incident, saying several persons were injured. She said she was yet to be briefed on those who died in the incident.
“It is not the business of the police to count dead bodies. Our business is to secure lives and property,” she said.
Meanwhile, commuters have declared Calabar-Itu federal highway unsafe following the clashes in the communities.
Passengers to and from Calabar, the capital of Cross River State, were stranded for several hours as the major access road was blocked by soldiers, anti-riot policemen and other emergency security operatives.
One of the commuters, Mr. Emmanuel Bassey, said: “This is a very sad and dangerous development. We are calling on the Federal Government to step in seriously and stop the incessant clashes.”
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