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Father, son beheaded in fresh C’River communal clash

By Ike Uchechukwu

CALABAR—The discovery of the headless bodies of a father and his son on their farm in Ebom Community, Abi Local Government Area of Cross River State, weekend, created fear in the entire area.

It was gathered that they were reportedly ambushed by gunmen suspected to be from a neighbouring village, Usumutung.

Vanguard gathered that the prolonged crisis between Ebom and Usumutung was rekindled Saturday morning, when Usumutung people reportedly ambushed the people of Ebom, who were working on their farms and killed one Mr. Oti Ato and his son, Sunday.

 

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Vanguard also gathered that Michael, the man’s grandson, narrowly escaped death with a bullet wound from their assailants, who disappeared after carrying out the attack.

The Village Head of Ebom, Chief Sunday Obite, told Vanguard on phone that three persons are still missing as the headless bodies of the victims have been recovered with the help of soldiers deployed to the communities since the crisis started sometimes last year.

Narrating what transpired, the Village Head said the man and his family were harvesting cassava, when they were ambushed and the man and his son killed.

Chief Obite said: “The man and his family were harvesting cassava when they were attacked by Usumutong people.

“According to the grandson, who is receiving treatment in a hospital at Itigidi due to bullet wounds he got while hiding in the bush, he saw them cutting off his grandfather and father’s head from his hiding place in the bush.

“They even made the wife, Eliza Oti, watch while they beheaded her husband and her son and asked her to take the message to her people.

“We believed that since soldiers are present, peace had returned. But we have been proved wrong once again. Even as they steal our farm produce, we kept mute. But now they have started again by killing a father and his son in the presence of the wife.”

Another indigene, Oban Bassey, also told Vanguard that they have recovered the bodies of Mr. Oti and his son with the assistance of soldiers.

His words: “As we speak, we have been able to get the corpses of Oti and his son with the help of soldiers at Usumutong. We have equally reported to the DPO and he has seen the corpses.”

Police react

Contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Irene Ugbo, confirmed the incident, stressing that the Commissioner has deployed men to the area to stem escalation of the crisis.

She said: “The state Commissioner of Police, Austin Agbolahor, has deployed men to maintain law and order.

“We are aware of the killing and the Commissioner of Police has deployed men to the place and the community leaders have also been invited to meet with the Commissioner for further deliberation. For now, the area is calm.”

 

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