No fewer than five people have been killed and many wounded while properties estimated at millions of naira were destroyed following a community crisis that erupted on Wednesday between Yoruba residents and indigenes of Ibeno in the Ibeno Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
A community source, who could not confirm the number of casualties to our correspondent, said both sides have suffered reverses.
Although the actual cause of the fracas was yet to be established, the source said the crisis started as a result of cult clash before it assumed ethnic dimensions.
He added that the Ilaje people, mostly fishermen, had started fleeing the community through bush paths while their houses and tents are being looted and destroyed by the hoodlums.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Odiko Macdon, when contacted, simply said he was not aware of the crisis but he will find out.
He said, “I am not aware but I will find out.”
A former commissioner of Special Duties in Akwa Ibom State, Mr Okpolupmn Etteh, who hails from the area could not pick up his calls to comment on the issue. However, a concerned citizen of the Yoruba ethnic group, living in Akwa Ibom State, Barr. Oluwajuwon Ogunbiyi, who confirmed the incident, described the situation as unfortunate and called on the state to set up a committee to investigate the crisis.
He said, “It is quite unfortunate that this crisis has led to the loss of innocent lives and destruction of properties. The Ibeno community had been a good host over the decades to both indigenes and non-indigenes who had been living there in harmony and without rancour.
“I’m, therefore, using this medium to appeal for peace and an end to hostilities from both warring parties. I also want to call on the Governor of Akwa Ibom State as well as the heads of all security agencies in the state to intervene in the matter immediately in order to stem these waves of violence.
“The state must as a matter of urgency set up a committee to look into this crisis so as to ascertain the major cause. Perpetrators fanning the embers of war on both sides must be arrested immediately.”
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