Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki
No fewer than eight persons have been killed in a renewed hostility between Ndiagu Alike community in Ikwo Local Government Area and Enyibichiri community in Abakaliki Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
The attack, our correspondent gathered, took place last Saturday along the Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike road near the border between the two communities.
Confirming the development, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Loveth Odah, said that six out of the eight victims were returning to Ikwo from Abakaliki before the warlords opened fire on them.
She said that while the said five were of the same family, two others were killed by bullet wounds they sustained from the attacks.
She narrated that a mini bus conveying the six was already close to the warriors before the driver noticed what was going on and while making effort to reverse and return to Abakaliki, his vehicle fell into the ditch.
She said that bullets hit the fuel tank of the vehicle and the minibus burst into flames. She said that almost all the occupants were burnt beyond recognition except the driver who escaped with gunshot injuries but eventually died in the hospital.
The PPRO added that one of the victims was a wife of a police officer serving in the state but who was on secondment to Bornu State where he was participating in the fight against insurgency in the North East.
Odah said: “It is a longs-tanding dispute between Ndiagu Alike community in Ikwo Local Government Area and Enyibichiri community in Abakaliki Local Government Area that erupted on Saturday.
“A vehicle was seen burning on the road, allegedly set ablaze by warriors from one of the communities.
“The victims were coming from Abakaliki where they attended the matriculation of their son. Five of them were from the same family including a little baby and one is a neighbor who joined them. They were burnt to ashes.
“Also three other persons were attacked and two of them were killed. One of them, a woman, was the wife of a police officer deployed to Bornu State,” she narrated.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Border Peace and Internal Security, Dr. Kenneth Ugbala, said some occupants of the other cars behind the burnt bus were also injured by stray bullets.
“They are receiving treatment in the hospital in Abakaliki,” he said.
Ugbala who revealed that government had deployed more security operatives to the area to restore normalcy wondered why a land dispute would spill into markets and road very far from the where the disputed land is located.
He said that the deputy governor of the state, Dr. Kelechi Igwe, would visit the place to ascertain the level of damage so that the government would take appropriate measures on the matter.