UKELLE GENOCIDE: CRISIS DEEPENS AS FOUR SOLDERS AND FIVE CORP MEMBERS SHOT DEATH
…As Death toll rises to 209 in the communal crises
Death toll in the communal clashes between Ukelle in Cross River State, and Igbeagu community in Ebonyi State have risen to 209. Among those who lost their lives in the renewed clash were four Military men who were deployed from Cross River to maintain Peace in the trouble spot and five Youth corps members from Ukelle who were returning their area of primary Assignment.
The latest senseless attack by the Izzians was accession by a fresh impetus of support given to the state sponsored militia group by Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State, Dr. Kelechi Igwe and I quote “I am where to assure you of the state government willingness to support you against your attackers in order to fine a lasting solution to this Menes’s as the State government would not fold its arm and watch Ebonyi people slaughtered on the altar of insecurity and wickedness” published in Vanguard online of 25th June 2018. He made this disclosure while on a visit to Ndagbarata Igbeagu on Monday while the killings took please on Tuesday
Reacting to the statement above, Barr. Alex Ebi Edim said “I wish to state her clearly that Ebonyi state government is strongly in the centre of the aggression carried out by the izzians, this is largely due to the unimaginable falsehood and propaganda from the Ebonyi state government as contained in several press conference spearheaded by the Deputy governor, Kelechi Igwe which same was never rebuff or rejoined, it is sad, regrettable, animalistic, barbaric and most inhuman to think of, come to think of it, in utter quest for Federal Government’s sympathy, he has reduced himself to SA media to the governor, or state commissioner for information. He alleged that there has been a grant plot by Ebonyi State Government to totally eliminate the Ukelle people at the border community.
The Ukelle community are calling on the President, the Civil Society Groups and the international community to intervene in the situation.
This is happening despite the presence of the Military and anti-riot policemen, deployed from Calabar and Abakiliki. It is worth to note that in all this the Ukelle Community had been at the receiving end since the “war,” broke out at the week end.
The Izzi people preventing Ukelle farmers from cultivating their land at Ijibollor in Ntrigom and some other parts of the community.
It was also gathered that the attack on the farmer at Ukelle was said to have spread to other communities in Yala LGA on the same day.
A resident of Ijibolo in Yala LGA, Mr. Michael Ojobo, alleged that the attack started at Ijibolo village when irate Izzi youths attacked the farmer.
He said, “There was an attack on my village, Ijibolo, when the Izzi people waylaid villagers who were returning from a meeting and many people sustained gunshot wounds.”
Another resident, Lawrence Ilop, said over fifty persons had died while uncounted number of persons has been declared missing in subsequent reprisal with several houses burnt.
“I saw five people dead. There had been several injuries and so many houses have been burnt on both sides.”
Sources said the conflict was caused by land disputes alleging that some Izzi youths had on several occasions prevented the family of one Mr Ojo Affi from harvesting his cassava farm at Ijibollor II, that is far from the “disputed” area and made away with the harvested crop have been to a state of comma.
The community in the petition said in order to avoid a repeat of the past clash, it has prevented its people from any form of confrontation against Izzi community on their renewed insurgency.
“We must inform you that the Izzians are poised for total war with Ukelle. They have stockpiled arms and ammunition in their place and are just looking for any excuse or little reaction from us to attack,” said a community leader.
The two communities have a long history of communal conflict which, on several occasions, had consumed many lives and property. Sometime in April 2005, the two communities engaged in warfare over ownership of parcels of land along their border communities of Ijibollor 1&2, Ogba, Ijama and Ipollo, which resulted in the death of many people and property worth billions of Naira destroyed.