Leaders and people of Nko community in Yakurr local government area of Cross River State have alleged that soldiers deployed to maintain peace in its communal conflict with the neighbouring Onyedama community, were instead killing Nko people, raping women and destroying residential buildings.
Recall that the community and its neighbour, Onyedama in Obubra local government area had been in communal war over a piece of land which the State government said it seized on Tuesday for peace to reign.
Briefing Journalists in Calabar, Wednesday, Nko leaders, including former Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Usani, alleged that a number of their people have been killed by soldiers while the whole community was being leveled systematically.
“While we support every responsible and meaningful effort towards maintaining lasting peace in the area, we call on the State government and the military authority to stop the raid in Nko community.
“It is however, regrettable that this military action in the community has largely rendered the entire indigenes of Nko homeless, beginning from Saturday, June 24, 2022 to this moment.
“Carnage has been exercised in arson, rape and shooting at sight of persons. Beyond these, our women have been thoroughly brutalized in very dehumanizing forms.
“The security situation in Nko community has remained tensed and fragile. For more than five days running, many people have been killed through shooting at sight and a lot more wounded, properties that cannot be quantified at the moment have been destroyed.
“The military personnel have wrecked havoc on the local populace, killing helpless persons, arresting some and introduced a reign of terror in the area. Women and children have abdicated their homes to take refuge in unknown locations.
“We as a community are appealing and pleading that the military high command should please remove the army personnel from Nko Community,” Spokesman for the Nko people, Dr Akapama Mbang, stated.
Repeated efforts to cause the Public Relation Officer of the 13 Brigade of the Nigerian Army in Calabar, Captain Dorcas Aluko, to respond to the allegation did not yield result as at press time.
Recall that the State government had on Tuesday sacked traditional rulers of the two warring communities and took full ownership of the disputed land.
Government, through the Deputy Chief Press Secretary to Gov Ben Ayade, had ordered “the sustenance of army operation in Nko community until those behind the shooting of the six military personnel are produced or fished out.”
The number of casualties on both sides and the military could not be independently confirmed as at the time of filling this report