By Ochuko Akuopha
TENSION, yesterday, heightened in Emede and Igbide communities, Isoko South Local Government Area, Delta State, as two persons were reportedly killed and several houses set ablaze over a protracted land dispute between the neighbouring communities.
The hostilities, which started on Tuesday, degenerated, yesterday, with hundreds of residents fleeing the areas to seek refuge in nearby towns.
Commenting on the development, President-General of Emede community, Dr Ben Okah-Avae, said: “Igbide people came to invade Emede, Tuesday. The land has been in dispute and the matter has been in court for many years.
“Last week, we met, resolving that the matter should be brought to the round table and we started discussing. Only yesterday (Tuesday) we set up a committee of Emede and Igbide, which was supposed to have their inaugural meeting today (yesterday) only for them to start invading us. We are peace-loving people; they took us unawares.”
Efforts to contact the President-General of Igbide community, Dr Patrick Obogho, were abortive at press time, but an indigene of the community, who sought anonymity, said:“Emede people came to attack us yesterday (Tuesday).
“There was a peace meeting yesterday (Tuesday), but they just came and blocked the road. They brought mercenaries and started attacking us.”
Reacting to the incident, Chairman of Isoko South Local Government Area, Itiako Ikpokpo, expressed sadness at the incident, affirming that the leadership of the communities and representatives of the council held a peace meeting.
“That meeting took place for more than three hours and they all laughed and were happy. So, I don’t know where this is coming from,” he said.
Confirming the incident, Police Public Relations Officer of the State command, Onome Onovwakpoyeya, said: “It is a communal crisis and we have been doing our best. As at this morning, two lifeless bodies have been recovered.”