A two-day fierce inter-communal clashes between Ikot Offiong people of Odukpani local government area in Cross River State and their Ikot Offiong neighbours in Itu local government area of Akwa Ibom State has reportedly left more than 11 people mostly women and children dead.
The perennial clashes between the warring two communities which occurred on Sunday lasted till Monday night, leaving about 2,000 people homeless and property worth thousands of naira destroyed.
A resident of Ikot Offiong, Bassey Okokon told Vanguard that the skirmishes between the two communities started on Sunday morning when Oku Iboku people launched an attack on Ikot Offiong community, killing some people who were in church, thus giving room for a higher number of casualties.
“We were in the church and all of a sudden we heard gun shots and people started running helter skelter and many of them were caught by bullets and others were butchered with machetes,” Okokon narrated.
He said the attack went on till the night and the following day which was a Monday in the morning, there was no help from anywhere as there are no police station or security agencies in the area.
“The Itu people attacked our community located in the western flank of the Cross River waterway that serves as boundary between the two communities and there is no police presence in the area which is the reason many people were killed.”
Chief Stephen Nya, a clan head of Ikot offiong said the Oku Iboku people usually launch frequent attacks on his people because of their intention to take the forest reserves in the area which has oil deposits and that the Ikot Offiong people should pay royalty to them for fishing in the Cross River.
“They attacked us three weeks ago and we repelled them and now they have decided to launch attack while we were in church and have killed our women and children en masse,” Chief Nya stated.
Ms Irene Ugbo, the Cross River Police Command spokesman said anti-riot policemen have been sent to the area to quell the clashes and the hostilities have ceased.