By Chioma Onuegbu
UYO—RESIDENTS of Ikot Akpan Udo village, Ukpum Ette clan, Ikot Abasi Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, have grumbled about the incessant attacks on them by youths of Amazaba village in Eastern Obolo Local Area of the state following a protracted land dispute.
Some of the villagers, who spoke to NDV at Ikot Abasi after the latest attack, last Friday, expressed disappointment that the state government has not been able to find a lasting solution to the dispute, which dated back to 2008 and has claimed several lives and property.
How they struck
Youth leader of Ukpum Ette clan, Mr. Ubong Essien, said that Friday attack on them would have been deadly if the Police and other security operatives, including the army had not intervened swiftly, as the Amazaba youths were heavily armed.
He disclosed that the DPO of Ikot Abasi was also shot in the arm as well as 9 other residents of Ikot Akpan Udo, who received bullet wounds or machete cuts by the Amazaba youths.
His words: “Those boys from Amazaba community attacked the people of Ikot Akpan Udo as early as 4:00 am on Friday. But the people alerted police and other security agencies, who responded immediately.
“And the DPO, Ikot Abasi, Mr. John Inyang-Abia and about nine other people from our community were shot by the enemies from Amazaba. One of the people here, Friday Endurance, managed to escape with a bullet wound because he was shot on the leg.
Daring security agents
“We think that the Amazaba people want to take over our land by force because they were carrying sophisticated weapons and some of our people that witnessed the attack, said it started as early as 4:00 am Friday and that the Amazaba boys, dressed in black and black, even refused to run away when the army and police arrived the area.
“I do not know what would have happened to our people if security agencies had not arrived the place on time. They would have killed so many of our people and we are worried. This is the second time Amazaba people are attacking our people, this year.
“You remember that they also attacked Ikot Abasi, early this year and burnt so many houses. This time, about three houses were burnt, but we thank God they did not succeed in killing anybody,” he said.
Govt shouldn’t shirk responsibility
Similarly, an angry youth from Ikot Akpan Udo village, Udoh, who managed to flee the area, said: “We are not satisfied with the way and manner government is handling this matter. They should come out and tell the Amazaba people to leave that land completely. We want a lasting solution to this. Are they going to do something only after the Amazaba people must have killed all Ikot Akpan Udo people?
“Some of our people have been killed and others ran away; our houses and property destroyed by our ‘enemies’ and for how long shall we continue to run away from Eastern Obolo people, they cannot take our land by force.”
The Clan head of Ukpum Ette, Etebom Clement Idemudo, who was part of the peace move by state government to reconcile the two communities after the January 2016 incident, sounded worried and refused to react, saying, “I will not be able to talk to press now.”
Police deploy personnel
Contacted the state Police Public Relation Officer, PPRO, Cordelia Nwawe, ASP, simply said that the Ikot Abasi DPO was safe, adding, “The area commander and other policemen have been deployed in the area and the police have taken charge of the area.”