Two persons have been murdered following a renewed communal clash between the people of Oku Iboku in Itu local government area of Akwa Ibom State and Mbiabo in Odukpani local government area of Cross River State.
A class teacher and a young man were said to have been killed in the renewed clash.
An eyewitness who gave her name as Atim Umo said she lost her aunt, who was a classroom teacher. “The Oku Iboku people crossed the waters to our community and killed my auntie, a primary school teacher in Mbiabo. Our house was razed down and my brother happened to escape from their wrath with severe injuries.
“This is the second time my family is gruesomely affected in this unending war between the two local government areas. The Cross River State government must stand up to challenge the neighbouring state to bring lasting peace in our community,” she said.
Also speaking, a man who declined given his name said that many have been killed from the attack by the Oku Iboku people. He alleged that the perpetrating community is being supported by politicians in Akwa Ibom State.
“I am so much worried for what is happening right now in my village here in Odukpani Local Government, Mbiabo Clan along Calabar Itu Bridge – we are dying there like fowls every day because of the communal clash between Odukpani and Itu local government in Akwa Ibom… Oku Iboku village yesterday came to our village (Mbiabo) and destroyed houses and killed people like cows.”
He said, “The villages in question are Oku Iboku vs Mbiabo and Otong Ediong and Idim Ndom and Ekpene Eki. Cross River State Government only knows us during elections period and voting…that’s the village I personally delivered our Governor Ben Ayade and our Senator Gershom Bassey.
And Mbiabo Clan is where Gershom Bassey hails from, in Etehentem Polling Unit to be précised. The crisis between these communities can be traced back to ages as the Odukpani people claimed the Itu people usually cross the river, which is the perceived boundary to come and fight them.
Currently, there is no house standing closed to the Itu Bridge when going to Akwa Ibom from Cross River State, due to the communal clashes in recent times. The People are begging for both Cross River and Akwa Ibom State Governments to set the boundaries straight so as to allow development in the affected areas.
When contacted on Thursday, the Police Public Relations Officer, Irene Ugbo lamented the situation and confirmed that two persons were killed in the clash and security personel deployed to the area.
“Peace has been restored in the war tone areas; our men are there to protect lives and property. We warn the perpetrators of atrocities to think twice as anybody caught would be dealt with,” she stated