Renewed communal clash allegedly claims three lives in Cross River

The renewed communal clash in four communities in Biase Local Government Area of Cross River State has allegedly claimed three lives and properties worth millions of naira destroyed.

The incident occurred in the early hours on Monday when the four communities in Biase, Abanwan and Orugbam communities clashed over farm land. It was alleged that Abanwan community launched the attack on Orugbam.

Similarly, Afona also attacked Ibini and some people were seriously injured, while many others in Ibini have relocated from their village for fear of further attack.

Speaking with newsmen, a lawyer from one of the warring communities, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the crisis was a result of the “decision by Orugbam people to annex some land in other Erei communities”

He said some months ago, “Orugbam people shot their way into Ipene community and destroyed houses. But when the Police arrested five of the ring leaders and put them in cell to calm the situation, the Deputy Governor ordered for their release.”

He added: “Just last week, Orugbam people went to Ipene and burnt their rice farms because they felt that government was on their side. This attitude of Orugbam against all their neighbours, including Ebor, infuriated Abanwan people who, after exhausting all peaceful method known to Erei land, decided to attack Orugbam.”

On Ibini and Afono crisis, our source said the crisis between Orugbam and neighbouring communities “created a problem of loyalty on who to support.”
He said: “While Ibini supports Abanwan, Afono is supporting Orugbam and when there is problem between Abanwan and Orugbam, Ibini will take side with the former while Afono takes side with the latter.”

On the number of casualties, he said three people were gunned down in Orugbam while one Ibini person was seriously injured.

However, the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Irene Ugbo while confirming that crisis erupted in the four communities on Monday, said nobody died “but there are serious injuries.”

She said: “Yes, there is problem in those areas you have mentioned but what I can tell you now is that many people have been seriously injured but nobody has died. Our people are on ground to contain the situation but so far, nobody has died.”

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