Several persons have been allegedly killed and many others declared missing in a renewed crisis that broke out in Abi Local Government Area of Cross River State on Thursday.
It was gathered that Ebom, Afafayi and Ediba communities invaded Usumutong and allegedly destroyed property worth millions of naira after killing most of them.
An eyewitness, who gave his name as Thomas Omini, told DAILY POST that, “They burnt the house of the former Ambassador to South Africa, burnt the house of the Paramount Ruler, they burnt several vehicles and motorcycles and other properties.”
He said the three communities alleged that the Usumutong people harboured Ebijakara in their community and that was why they attacked them.
He added, “Ebijakara people left Usumutong community back to their ancestral home in Ebom and the people of Ebom drove them back to Usumutong. That was all, they now came and attacked us” he alleged.
Speaking with DAILY POST, the Village Head of Usumutong and Paramount Ruler of Abi, HRM Oval Solomon Osim Edward said “They burnt my house, they burnt my hilux vehicle, they burnt so many houses, about 15 houses were burnt and many motorcycles as well as other properties”.
He said the invaders stormed his community in a manner that took them unaware, “About three to four communities came and attacked us this morning and at the same time. The communities are Ebom, Ediba and Afafayi.
“It is a mere hatred. Police and soldiers have been drafted to the area and they are there as I am talking to you now. I can’t say how many people have been killed but many have been shot and they have sustained serious injuries. The situation is still fresh but many have been gunned down” he stated.
However, the Village Head of Ebom Chief Henry Bassey said “I am returning from Afikpo to my community, I am not at home and I don’t know what is happening there now. I would not been able to answer your question since I am not at home,” he stressed.
Also speaking with our correspondent on phone the Chairman of Promotion of Peace and Conflict Settlement, an NGO, Mr Wisdom Usani said he was in the community to data of destroyed properties, “I am here to take records of destroyed items. Usumutong community is a peace loving community and they are ready for peace.
“You cannot tell me that a community that don’t have problem but you team up and attacked them, killed people and burnt houses it’s sad”
The State Commissioner of Police, CP Mohammed Inuwa Hafiz, who confirmed the attack, said, “We have sent additional number of Mobile Police to the area and my Area Commander is there with DPOs. Additional Police have also been deployed to the area from other divisions,” he said.