BY CHIDI NKWOPARA
OWERRI— TWO persons were reported dead, while property estimated at about N1.5 billion has either been damaged or completely burnt, in an intra-communal strive that has engulfed Umueke Ebeowerre autonomous community, Ehime Mbano local council area of Imo State.
Vanguard investigations revealed that the crisis started last Monday, following what some people called “the factionalisation of the natives.
At press time, several houses, cars, motorcycles, documents and historical monuments have reportedly been burnt, while scores of people were injured.
Similarly, scores of families have been rendered homeless, while others have fled to neighbouring villages.
A villager, who simply gave his name as Chijioke for security reasons, lamented that the intra-communal battle has left many people seriously injured.
He said: “About two persons have been reported dead, including one Chinedu. Also, so many building have been burnt to ashes.
“The same is true of cars, motorcycles and other valuables. Countless people have been seriously injured and others homeless.”
Although Chijioke refused to reveal the story behind the clash, he said: “The carnage and arson is senseless, especially as this was happening between people who should ordinarily regard themselves as brothers and sisters.”
Another villager, who spoke on grounds of anonymity, linked the incident to what he termed “the excesses of the traditional ruler.”
He alleged that the royal father had been denying a section of the community their traditional rights by employing a divide-and-rule administration style.
Meanwhile, the state Police Command has sent a detachment of policemen to the troubled community to keep the peace, while investigation into the matter is reportedly on.