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5,000 displaced in communal clash

By John Ighodaro
CALABAR—The communal clash that ravaged Ntan-Obu Ekpe in Odukpani local government area of Cross River State and its neighbouring community of Ikpayah in Ibiono LGA of Akwa Ibom State has led to the displacement of 5,000 people.

Although life has returned to relative normalcy in the communities, about 5,000 people, including women and children, are currently squatting with relatives in neighbouring villages of Nse Ikot Ama and Nsit.

In Ntan Obu community, the entire village of about 100 houses is lying in ruins.
The houses were said to have been ignited and blown up with the use of explosives.

No household property could be salvaged, as the entire villagers were chased out of the community, while some of them were killed.

About 26 persons sustained injuries ranging from bullet wounds to matchet cuts.

Some of the villagers, who are trickling in due to the presence of mobile policemen, are sleeping under tree shades and in some dilapidated structures as refugees.

Speaking to newsmen, the village head, Chief Esuabangha, who bemoaned the loss of many innocent citizens and property worth millions of Naira, said it was surprising that communities that had co-existed for more than a century and engaged in inter-marital affairs should suddenly rise up to cause mayhem over an issue that could have been solved through dialogue.

Assessing the damage, the Director-General, Cross River State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Mr. Vincent Aquah, described the losses as colossal.

Aquah, who was represented by the Desk Officer for Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons Matters in the agency, Mr. Okon Anembe Effiong Etor, urged the people to remain peaceful and cooperate with law enforcement agents in the community.

Some of the victims who spoke to newsmen appealed for immediate provision of food, clothing, temporary shelter and mosquito nets.


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