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Pregnant woman, three others feared killed in Cross River communal clash

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A pregnant woman and three others have been feared killed in a communal clash between Ikot Offiong and Akpap Okoyong communities of Odukpani Council of Cross River State.

The Guardian learnt that property worth millions of naira were also destroyed, while several persons were injured in the clash.

A community leader in Akpap Ojong said the Ikot Offiong people were displaced from their ancestral homes in Ikot Offiong, Oku Iboku in Itu council of the state and were given a temporary abode at Akpap Okoyong, but have now risen against their host.

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Sources said there was a disagreement between an Ikot Offiong indigene and his Akpap Okoyong counterpart over an accident and the matter was resolved, but the Ikot Offiong people mobilised and attack their supposed landlords yesterday.

“They set houses ablaze and attacked owners of filling stations, collected fuel without paying and generally created mayhem in the community.

“We urge the state government to help us, because we are afraid of a reprisal attack because we can not sit down and allow them to enter our community and destroy us just like that,” the source said.

He said anywhere the Ikot Offiong people settle, they must create problems adding that they left their home and settled at Mbiabo Obot Idiong ward, caused so much trouble there to the extent that the place was no longer habitable.

Vice Chairman of Odukpani Council, Aniofiok Inyang, who visited the area yesterday, confirmed on the telephone that three persons have been reported killed, saying: “Two were murdered in Okoyong Community, while one was killed in Ikot Offiong.”

He said the clash was between the Ikot Offiong people who settled at Ubambat and fought the Okoyong people, saying he appealed for calm and restraint and that security operatives had been deployed to the area.

Another indigene of Okoyong Community, Ekpeyong Akiba, confirmed the incident, noting that tension was still high in Okoyong, as people have started relocating from the community.

He said the Ikot Offiong people provoked the fresh crisis on yesterday when they suddenly mobilised from Ubambat village, having forcibly occupied the place in the Okoyong Community.

“They moved from Ubambat to Usongurua towards Akpap-Okoyong, singing war songs and attacking buildings and persons on the way, vowing that they will make others refugees like themselves, since they were asked to leave Ubambat,” he said.

Giving further insight, Akiba said the Ikot Offiong people were part of Odukpani Council and they always have communal clash with the Oku people in Itu Council, adding that the Oku People had since displaced their Ikot Offiong counterparts.

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