By our Correspondent
…As more killings loom
The kidnap of three persons, a man, woman and her son in Adadama in Abi Local government of Cross River State by people believed to be militants in Amaegwu village, a neighbourring community in Ikwo local government area of Ebonyi State is the latest of the evils that have continued unabated.
The two communities have been at war for over five decades over a farmland between the two communities with the crisis claiming several lives and several others injured. The whereabouts of others who were abducted are still unknown. Since the recent hostilities in the area, lives have been lost while several properties worth billions of naira have been destroyed.
Early this year, about 13 Adadama people, both men and women including children were reportedly murdered, while some had their heads cut off as a result of the farmland dispute. A source hinted Saturday Vanguard that the bodies of the 13 Adadama people are still lying at the Itigide morgue in Cross River State.
According to a source in the villiage who was at the spot when they came , “these militants stormed the farmland with loads of ammunition packed in a 50litre-jerry can. They were seen removing the bullets from the jerry can and loading same in Ak-47s.” The area in dispute is located between Adadama and Amaegwu in between the two states.
Richard Elem, an indigene of Adadama told Saturday Vanguard that “From 1960, the Amaegwu people in Ikwo were labourers to Adadama people who came to cultivate their farmland during the planting season. This is because the Adadama’s farmland is fertile for crops especially rice. But gradually, the Adadama people started marrying their daughters and became in-laws”.
He said as in-laws, the Adadama people started releasing their farmlands to the Amaegwu people to cultivate and have their own crops for their families since they had married each other. But in 1990, the Adadama youths saw the implication of this action and called the elders to re-address the issue. The youths maintained that the development will create problems in future.”
But later on, both the Ebonyi State Government and Cross River Government with an order from the Federal Government agencies on boundary adjustment erected a Police Post to further stop Amaegwu’s encroachment into the Adadama’s land.
“On Sunday Jan. 13th 2013, the Adadama elders appointed a delegate to hold a peace talk but that was short-lived as one of the elders on peace mission was ambushed and attacked by Amaegwu youths. The youths attacked him with cutlass marks all over his body. The man was taken to Aja Local Government Area in the state.
“On Monday 14th Jan 2013, the Ikwo people were armed with AK 47 rifles and other dangerous weapons. They came to the boundary and burnt down the Police post there and destroyed every thing in the Police post. This operation took place at about 8:30am and an Adadama lady who went to farm was kidnapped and has not returned till date.
“This incident was reported to the DPO at Abi Local Government and the Chairman of the Abi Local Government as well. Through these prominent citizens, the information reached the Deputy Governor of Cross River State because the Governor himself travelled abroad for medical treatment. At this point, the Deputy Governor spoke with the Ebonyi State Governor for peace talk in which both sides of Elders should meet on 16th of Jan. 2013.”
“After the peace talk, both sides agreed to sheath their swords. But surprisingly, on the 17th of January, 2013, the Ikwo people came for a serious attack on Adadama people. This time they used AK47, Mack 4, pump action rifle and other dangerous weapons. About 13 Adadama people – both men, women and children were killed and some heads were cut-off. The lifeless bodies of the people are still at Itigide mortuary,” Elem stated.
We gathered that recently, a House of Representative member, Honourable Bassey Ewa -Yakur representing Abi constituency visited Adadama to see things for himself and was shocked at the level of destruction . Some of the shells of the bullets were picked and packed into a cellophene bag to Abuja.
On the other hand, another source from Amaegwu community claimed that no fewer than eight persons were said to have been abducted with 45 houses belonging to Amaewgu community allegedly destroyed by hoodlums from Adadama community.
“We have been living together for 100 years now, although there have been skirmishes between the two communities but it has never taken this dimension. Our children are being abducted every year and killed and houses burnt. The two communities are suspicious of the the other over land issues. Now, we can no longer fish in our ponds. Our women can no longer go to the farm without being abducted and our youths who are supposed to be useful now keep vigil at the border area for fear of being attacked by Adadama people.”
The question on the lips of many people today is “will this war ever end? The Adadama people are, through the Cross River Government calling on the Federal Government to find a lasting solution to this land dispute before it wipes out thousands of people in the two communities.