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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

How Boundary Clash Between Abia, Cross River Communities Left One Dead, Many Injured

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A fresh clash between Ukwa Community in Cross River and Isu Community in Arochukwu Local Government Area of Abia State has claimed the life of a woman identified as Mrs Blessing Kalu Elem, while many others have been injured.

Mrs Elem was reportedly slaughtered after invaders suspected to be from Ukwa Community allegedly raided Isu Community on Friday and Saturday.

 

The President General of Isu Community, Amara Kalu, said that some of the locals who ran into the bush during the Saturday raid are yet to be accounted for, adding that those who were wounded had been taken to different hospitals where they are currently being treated.

 

Kalu said on Monday that the invaders struck from unexpected locations on Friday and Saturday and that while the deceased was killed during the Friday raid, over 15 locals were maimed in Saturday’s attack.

 

He said that no fewer than 50 residents of Isu Community have been claimed since the border clash started in 2018, stressing that the discovery of limestone in the area in commercial quantity must have made their neighbouring Cross River Community to start dragging their ancestral land with them.

 

According to Kalu, many villagers had been rendered homeless following a series of attacks by the Cross River neighbours.

 

He lamented that the invaders had gone beyond the disputed area to lay claims on their ancestral homes “where we are living”.

 

Kalu said that people displaced from the affected villages had been living in the Internally Displaced Persons IDP camp under severe conditions.

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Vanguard Newspaper quoted him as saying, “We have lost over 50 persons since 2018 alone. Although this crisis has been there since 1985 and 1995 when we clashed, none has lasted like the current case that began in 2018.

 

“While we were planning for peace we didn’t know our neighbours were planning for war.

 

“Some of our people have been living in IDP camps since then until they were dispatched to Ututu, Aro and Ihechiowa because no support was coming from any agency, and we are tired of raising support for them.

 

“We have also lost over 50 persons who died out of frustration because of the displacement including the wife of our traditional ruler, and the oldest man in the community who was buried recently.”

 

Kalu therefore appealed to the Nigerian government for an urgent intervention to bring permanent solution to the lingering border dispute by mandating the National Boundary Commission to clearly delineate the boundaries between the two communities.

 

Kalu further appealed that a military or police base be sited in the area to ensure peace and implementation of the decisions of the Boundary Commission, and that the government should resettle and rehabilitate those displaced as a result of the incessant attacks.

 

Kalu, who regretted that previous administrations in the state had neglected and abandoned the affected Isu persons, commended the current efforts of Governor Alex Otti-led government to resolve the dispute.

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It was reported that Governor Otti, during a visit to the devastated community, had ordered the immediate transfer of scores of gunshot victims to a specialist hospital for proper medical attention with attendant bills to be fully paid by the state Government.

 

Otti was quoted as saying, “I have communicated with the government of Cross River State to call her people to order and stop further infiltration.

 

“The Governor of Abia State, Dr. Alex Chioma Otti, is saddened over this obnoxious act and enjoins you to remain calm as the government is working hand in glove with the security agencies to ensure that checkpoints are mounted at all entry points into Isu, as well as constitute a patrol team. His condolences are with you.”

 

The governor who condoled with the family of the deceased said that he came to ascertain the extent of damage and empathize with the entire community following the invasion of the community.

 

He assured Isu community of the State government’s resolve to show presence in the long-forgotten area by the previous administrations, by fixing access roads to boundaries in Isu community up to the beach which serves a natural boundary feature, as well as other areas having inter-state boundary issues across the State.

 

Governor Otti also commended the traditional ruler of Isu Autonomous Community, HRH, Eze Augustine Igwe, President General of Obieze and leaders of Obieze and Isu communities for their maturity in handling the painful situation.

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