Two injured, others missing in Ebonyi, Abia land dispute

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Two persons were reportedly wounded and many missing in a renewed clash between Amata, Ishiagu community in Ivo local government area of Ebonyi and Lokpanta community in Abia State over ownership of farmland.

The two communities, which have been locked in an inter-communal conflict over ownership of a vast arable farmland, near their borders renewed their hostilities.

Two indigenes of Amata allegedly sustained gunshot wounds. It was also alleged that many indigenes from Amata community were abducted.

A resident of Amata, who requested non attribution, said the incident happened on Saturday, May 29 at the disputed farmland.

The source added that it took the timely intervention of armed policemen from Ivo Division to put the situation under control and prevent a bloodbath.

The source accused the people of Lokpanta of starting the recent crisis.

He said “they were in the habit of launching unprovoked sporadic attacks during wet season farming activities while laying claim to the lands at the farming area”.

He decried the surprise attack “on the defenceless, unarmed and elderly farmers who were in their farms for the wet season farming activities by the suspected hoodlums.”

“The invaders came shooting sporadically and chasing the farmers with various types of dangerous weapons, two people sustained gun shot wounds in the process. I was lucky to have escaped unhurt,” he said.

However, PREMIUM TIMES could not independently verify the claims.

Police react

Meanahile, the police spokesperson in the state, Loveth Odah, confirmed the incident.

She said both Ebonyi and and Abia State police commands were working to ensure return of full normalcy in the affected area.

She said both commands have sent police operatives to patrol the area.

“Our men are in control of the situation,” she added. “They arrived the scene of crisis and rescued those abducted from the two sides and also aborted a bloodbath; though two persons were confirmed injured from gun shots.”

“It was a very unfortunate situation and we are appealing to both communities to sheathe their sword and allow dialogue.

“We hope that Anyim Pius Anyim, former Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF) and also former President of the Senate who is an indigene of the Ishiagu community will assist in this regard.

“The new commissioner (of police) who will be assuming duty at the command on June 1, will be briefed on the development and he will take it up with the Governor to ensure timely intervention of the National Boundary Commission (NBC),” Ms dah added.