A communal clash between New Netim and Odukpani Qua communities in Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State has so far claimed one life and property razed.
Odukpani Qua natives, according to eyewitnesses, launched the attack on the New Netim community killing an unnamed 35-year old man, setting ablaze many houses, including the palace of New Netim and several cars.
Chairman of Odukpani local government council, Bassey Eyo, blamed the fracas on a land dispute and chieftaincy tussle, noting that the attack may have been pre-planned because specific houses and people were targeted.
Causes of the attack, he stressed, could be both “inter and intra,” as ?”some people right in New Netim are fighting the present village head, they prefer their former Secretary as Village head.”
In an interview the village head of New Netim Village, Ntufam Raphael Okpa Ita explained that “Odukpani Qua Town took us to court over the land in question and judgment was given in our favour. But, this morning they invaded my community and killed my subject in cold blood.”
The village head who survived the attack by the whiskers had his palace torched, accusing his opponents of conniving with some people in Odukpani Qua Town to wreck havoc on the community who have been contesting the chieftaincy stool with him.
His words, “I got a report that my community would be invaded. On the 24th of August this year, I wrote to security chiefs alerting them of credible information that we will be attacked. The two communities were summoned by the Police but the Odukpani Qua people denied that there was such a plan. But look at what has happened now.”
Aftermath of the Cross River Communal Clash
Reacting, the State Security Adviser, Jude Ngaji, explained: “The fracas started at about 1am to 1.30am and immediately we got the call, we deployed security men there, but before the men got there, the havoc had already been committed. The Army and Operation Skolombo, responded immediately, led by the Assistant Commissioner of Police, operations, himself.
“For now the area is calm as security agents have been deployed to the area. We are asking everybody to go about their normal duties, as the police and army have taken over the place in terms of security. The culprit will be arrested as investigation continues.