The Ebonyi State Police Command has confirmed the death of eight persons including a three months old baby in a renewed communal clash between the people of Ndiagu Alike in Ikwo local government area of the state and their neighbours, Enyibichiri in Abakaliki local government area.
Confirming the death of the eight persons, the state police public relations officer (PPRO), ASP Loveth Odah said that the crisis was caused by longstanding land dispute between the two communities, which erupted again at the weekend.
ASP Odah said that a vehicle which was conveying the victims from their destination to their community was later seen burning along the road adding that it was alleged that the vehicle and the occupants were set ablaze by attackers from one of the communities.
According to her, “The victims were coming from Abakaliki where they attended a matriculation of their son. Five of them were from the same family including a little baby and one is a neighbour who joined them”.
She said that on sighting the bus, the driver attempted to turn the bus and head back but unfortunately the bus fell inside drainage along the road while the attackers continued the shooting.
She said that the sporadic shooting might have hit the fuel tank of the bus, which immediately ignited fire on the vehicle while the occupants were still inside. The inferno burnt the victims to ashes.
The Police Public Relations Officer stated that three other persons were also attacked and two of them were killed adding that one of them was the wife of a police officer deployed to Bornu State for the fight against insurgency in the country.
When contacted, the state commissioner for Internal Security and Border Peace and Conflict Resolution, Dr. Kenneth Ugballa who condemned the attack said that the communal crisis has become a source of concern to the state government adding that the deputy governor of the state has visited the area to ensure that normalcy returns to the area.
He said that the a stakeholders meeting of the warring communities would soon be converged to find a lasting solution to the crisis, adding that security has been beefed up in the area to avoid reprisal attack.
He called on the traditional rulers and other stakeholders in the area to call their youths to order, as any further attacks would not be tolerated by the government.
It is not yet certain the remote and immediate cause of the renewed attack as the community also witnessed similar crisis recently.
Meanwhile, security has been mobilised to the area while youths of the area had fled the community to avoid arrest and intimidation.
The state governor, Chief David Umahi who has been on vacation since two weeks now is expected to cut short his vacation to enable him summon a meeting to resolve the lingering crisis.
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