About thirteen persons were reportedly killed and two villages razed on Friday in the raging inter- communal conflict between the people of Ukele in Yala Local Government Area of Cross River State and their Izzi neighbours of Ebonyi State.
The conflict which is over farmland along their common border has been a recurring decimal particularly during yam and rice planting seasons and many lives have been lost to the conflict since 2003 when it first occurred.
The recent conflict started on Monday when a woman was reportedly shot in her farm and on Wednesday when some youths in Ipuolo village returning from a meeting were reportedly waylaid by their Izzi counterparts leaving many of them with gunshot wounds.
The Friday killings and burning of houses according to Mr Vincent Egbe, the Community Relations Officer to the Cross River State Governor, Senator Ben Ayade in the area started when some Izzi assailants invaded the venue of a peace meeting convened by the Divisional Police Officer for the Area and his Ebonyi State counterpart to find a peaceful resolution to the matter.
“We were already in the meeting venue waiting for the arrival of the DPOs from Yala and Izzi Local Government Areas when some youths invaded the venue of the meeting and shot into the crowd and wounded many people”. Egbe said
He said the Ukele youths mobilised and managed to repel the attackers and it was in the ensuing battle that the village of Nkaleke and Nduabonyi were raved and many people also lost their lives.
“They are the aggressors and all our people have been trying to do is to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict yet they keep launching attacks on us”.
Mr Hafiz Inua, the Cross River State Police Commissioner could not be reached on phone as his number was not connecting but the Police Public Relations Officer for the state police Command, Ms Irene Ugbo said the Commissioner travelled to the area and telephone network is bad there that is why his number could not connect.