By Dennis Udoma
UYO—No fewer than 50 persons were feared killed, yesterday, following a raid on another Akwa Ibom State community, Akpa-Mfrukim, in Akan Obio, a fishing settlement in Uruan Local Government Area of the state by armed youths suspected to be from Odukpani Local Government Area in Cross River State.
An indigene of the area who pleaded anonymity confirmed the development to Vanguard, but said he was not sure of the casualty figure.
He said: “Many people have fled their homes because of the invasion by the hoodlums, who (allegedly) came from Ikot Offiong, which is part of the age-long boundary feud between Oku-Iboku clan in neighbouring Itu Local Government Area of the state, with Ikot Offiong people in Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State.
Efforts to speak with the Transition Committee Chairman, Uruan council, Dr. Edwin Okon, on the incident was not successful as his telephone lines were off.
However, the Chairman was quoted to have said: “The protracted crises have forced the remaining indigenes to flee and seek refuge elsewhere.
“Farming and fishing, which are the major sources of livelihood of my people, have been affected by the invasion of these communities by people from Odukpani.”
The Police Public Relations Officer, Akwa Ibom State Police Command, Mr. Chukwu Ikechukwu, who could not confirm the incident at press time, said: “I am not aware of the attack but, I will contact the Divisional Police Officer in the area for confirmation.”
It will be recalled that riverine communities around Oku-Iboku in Itu council of Akwa Ibom State have experienced frequent attacks by invaders from neighbouring Ikot Offiong in Odukpani in Cross River State over a disputed farm land and water front.
It will also be recalled that both state governments have tried to find lasting peace to the crisis, but the efforts have always met with resistance, as the warring communities have continued to kill one another almost on weekly basis since the beginning of this year.
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