There was blood-letting in Ediba and Usumutong both in Abi Local Government Area (LGA) of Cross River State after the re-occurrence of an age-long communal clash which claimed the lives of 10 people including a 5-year-old and a cleric identified as Pastor John.
The communal clash which also witnessed the torching of the residence of a police officer in Ediba has seen residents of both communities move to neighbouring communities to seek refuge.
According to John Bassey who witnessed the carnage, the attack by the Usumutong people was a retaliation of series of attacks on them by the Ediba community.
He said; “This recent clash started last week Saturday when reports made rounds that one Pastor John from Ediba and a police officer’s house were bombed in Ediba by Usumutong youths. This didn’t go down well with the Ediba people. But the Usumutong people claimed it was a retaliation of series of attacks on them by the Ediba community who had consistently dealt a deadly blow on them at any slightest provocation.
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“The attack on Ediba however created tension and further mobilsation of both communities in readiness for any eventuality. But yesterday morning, the Ediba speople tormed the Usumutong community killing about nine persons and destroying houses and crops.”
Recounting their loss, an Usumutong person, identified simply as Agbarei, said: “We were ruthlessly attacked this morning, (yesterday), by the Ediba warriors. In the process, a few houses were burnt while about 8 persons and a little baby were killed. But before we could re-group they had fled. I think there was a conspiracy somewhere because we knew they were coming and we prepared. Somehow, they beat us this time and we shall re-strategise. For now I can tell you that elderly people, women and children have all fled to nearby communities for safety. And we appeal that government should take action on this intractable crisis once and for all.”
Confirming the incident, Irene Ugbo, the Cross River State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, said calm has been restored in both communities but revealed that no official death had been recorded.
She said; “The command had deployed security personnel, but no official death had been reported to us.”
Recall last November, that both communities went into full-scale war killing about seven persons and destroying property worth millions of naira with reports suggesting that the recent outbreak of hostilities was said to have started penultimate week when both communities unleashed series of guerilla-war-like attacks on each other.
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