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Many feared dead as C-River, Benue communities clash over farmland

By Emma Una

CALABAR—A misunderstanding over a portion of farmland, between the people of Obudu in Cross River State and their Mgberedem neighbours in Kwande Local Government Area of Benue State, has led to a communal conflict, which has left many people dead while several others sustained gunshot injuries.

The conflict, which has been raging since Tuesday, according to a source in the area, Augustine Ogar, started when the Mgberedem people allegedly destro-yed farms cultivated by the people of Obudu in the disputed land.

Ogar said: “The land in dispute is right behind the Federal College of Education, Obudu, and we have been farming there for decades.

“Suddenly, the Mgberedem people started encroaching on the land and each time our people use the land, the Mgberedem people would either harvest the crops or destroy them.”

He said on Sunday, while people were in churches, the Mgberedem people invaded the farmland and destroyed crops.

When, Monday, Obudu people went to their farms and saw the destruction, they sent a delegation to the Mgbertedem people on Tuesday to find out who destroyed their crops, and a fight broke out with machetes and guns freely used.

Ogar added: “Many people in Obudu and Mgberedem have sustained gunshot injuries, but I cannot say the number of those who might have died.”

He said policemen and soldiers have been dispatched there last night and hopefully peace would be restored.

According to him, “all farming activities and trade between the two communities have been put on hold.

“People are no longer going to farm and the Mgberedem people, who usually bring items for sale in our market have stopped coming.”


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