10 feared dead, houses razed as Abia, Cross River communities engage in bloody border clash

www.odogwublog.com reports that no fewer than 10 persons were feared dead and many houses razed as the people of Isu community in Arochukwu Local Government Area of Abia State were engaged in a bloody border clash with their neighbouring Utuma community in Biase LGA of Cross River  State.
A local source said the crisis started about two weeks ago following the discovery of lime stone in Isu community and the grading of a road leading to the site by Ibeto group.
Confirming the incident, an indigene of Isu community and an Aide to Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu, Hon. Nicholas Igwe Kalu, said his people had come under heavy attack by Cross River people.
He said that the community had  been deserted as the locals are now taking refuge in neighbouring Ohafia and some fled to their relations in the city.
Giving more insight on what led to the conflict, Kalu said Utuma people of Cross River were only envious of the lime stone discovered in Isu, hence the attack on the community.
According to him, ever since Ibeto commenced work on the road leading to the limestone site, the Utuma people stepped up their attack on Isu locals.
He said that two weeks ago, Utuma people abducted some Isu locals , and in retaliation, Isu people also abducted some Utuma villagers.
But following intervention by security agents, both sides released their captives and peace efforts were initiated.
He however said that the reconciliatory moves were truncated when last week the Utuma people invaded the unsuspecting Isu people killing locals and burning down houses.
His words: " When Ibeto group started grading road in our community because of the limestone discovered in the area, the Utuma people became envious. They began to attack our people. They abducted some of our people and in retaliation the Isu people also went and abducted some of their people. But those captured were later released when the military intervened.
“After that, they went and reinforced and launched an unprovoked attack with sophisticated weaopns, killing and destroying houses. The casualties we have recorded in this attack are only on our own side. If the government fails to intervene immediately, our clan may be wiped out.
 “We want the government to bring the National Boundary Commission to, as a matter of urgency, come and demarcate our boundary with Cross River State as the best permanent solution to constant clashes between us and  the Cross River people."
Another village source the Cross River people fell trees to block access to Isu community ostensibly to prevent security operatives from intervening. 
The source added that scores of people from Isu community are still missing following the invasion of the agrarian community by Cross Rivers people.
When contacted, the Abia State Police Commissioner, Mr. Anthony Ogbisi confirmed the incident but remained silent on the casualty figure. 
He said only one person from Isu was allegedly missing according to the villagers.
The Police boss said both sides released their abductees following his intervention, but added that trouble started when the abductees from Cross River claimed that they were tortured while in captivity.
Apparently angered by the claims their Cross River kinsmen went on revenge mission in Isu burning down houses in their trail. 
The CP said that the Police Commands  in both states had deployed personnel to both communities to restore peace.
He appealed to the locals to remain calm and restrain from taking the laws into their hands as efforts were being intensified to bring a permanent solution to the impasse.
Meanwhile, a source close to the Acting Governor of the State, Sir Ude Oko Chukwu,  acknowledged that the incident had been brought to his attention.
The source said the Deputy Governor had since contacted his Cross River counterpart with a view to resolving the crisis, expressing hope that the situation would not escalate.
10 feared dead, houses razed as Abia, Cross River communities engage in bloody border clash 10 feared dead, houses razed as Abia, Cross River communities engage in  bloody border clash Reviewed by Odogwu Emeka Odogwu on Friday, April 27, 2018 Rating: 5

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