Dozens feared killed in multiple communal clashes in Cross River

image

 
Many people are feared killed in ongoing communal clashes in Cross River State, South-south Nigeria.
Fighting is said to have broken out between four communities in Cross River Central Senatorial and Northern Senatorial districts, during the weekend.
In the Central Senatorial district, the crisis involved Ebum community in Obubra Local Government Area and Inyima in Yakurr Local Government Area of the state.
However, in the Northern Senatorial district, people from Ukpe community fought against their counterparts from Mbagede both in Ogoja Local Government Area.
Residents and the police confirmed the multiple clashes were triggered by protracted land disputes.
A local who pleaded not to be named for safety reasons told PREMIUM TIMES that Ebum community and neighbouring Inyima are locked in a protracted dispute over a parcel of land.
The conflict between Ukpe and Mbagede communities is also said to have lingered for about a decade despite attempts at settlement by traditional rulers from the affected area.
The dispute, however, got bloody at the weekend when Mbagede people uprooted yam seedlings which were planted on the disputed parcel of land by Ukpe farmers.

The action of the Mbagede people infuriated their Ukpe neighbours, who launched a reprisal attack leading to the death of many villagers from both communities.
When contacted, the Cross River State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, John Elu, confirmed the fighting.
He blamed the crises on protracted land disputes among the warring communities.
While he could not say how many people were killed in the two clashes, Mr. Elu however, maintained that a joint security operation has been deployed to restore law and order in the affected areas.