By Sunday Agbo, Abakaliki
One person has been beheaded and two others killed, even as scores escaped death with various degrees of injuries and houses razed in a renewed hostility between the people of Igbeagu community in Izzi local government area and the people of Ukelle in Cross River state.
Following the latest escalation of conflict in the area, the traditional ruler of Igbeagu community, His Royal Highness, Eze M O Ukwa had petitioned the Governor of Ebonyi state, David Umahi, requesting for urgent intervention in ending the killings and mayhem in the border communities.
In the letter dated 21st March, 2019 and addressed to the governor tilted: “Civil disturbances in Izzi/Yala crises; two killed, one beheaded; three injured; three houses burnt at Achacha/Okpata axis,” the monarch urged the state government to take proactive measures to bring Ukelle youths to book for failing to keep the peace.
According to the monarch, the people of Igbeagu had agreed to live in peace, but alleged their Cross River neighbor had been instigating violence. The letter read in parts: “In the history of these crises ( Izzi/Ukelle), today 21/03/2019 witnessed a deep cloud of gloom and despair, that at the hour of 6am, when people were still walking to attend to their various economic activities, that Ukelle boys laid ambush on the part of Achacha/Okpata axis.
“Before the people could arrange themselves to run out of the mayhem, the nefarious Ukele boys had set fire on three houses in compounds of Messrs: Nwode Ezeoke, Okemini Ezeoke, Nwode Ajigburu as people were running for their lives, there were sporadic gunshots.
“As a result of these gunshots, Mr. Thomas Ogbonna was killed and beheaded, Chinweike Jeremaih Oketa was killed while the following persons were injured. Mr. Chinonso Oroke, Ikele Ogodo and Benard Ishikpa. The dead are deposited in Ndubia mortuary, while Chinonso and Ikele were admitted for medical treatment at Saint Vincent Hospital, Ndubia and Benard is admitted to Federal Medical Center(FMC), Abakaliki respectively.
According to Eze Ukwa, after the resolution to stop hostility in both axis, the people of Izzi resolved to abide by government order because of their commitment to civility. “Permit me Your Excellency to bring to your notice once more that the actions of these Ukelle people are likened to Fulani herdsmen surreptitiously in view of the sired relationship in the past. These same Fulani herdsmen who have resolved to join the Cross River people to fight the people of Igbeagu in Izzi local government area.
“These actions of the Fulani herdsmen was intended before now, but was controlled, but this time around, but was controlled, but this time around, they reinforced to join people of Ukelle in disguise to overshadow the people of Igbeagu, hence the crises have been an advantage for Fulanis.
“The state government should urge the National Boundary Commission to fasten the boundary demarcation in the area so as to save the lives of the innocent, he appealed.
Efforts by Orient Weekend to obtain views from the Ukelle people could not materialize as at press time.