Home News Ten Persons Killed as Tiv, Yache Communal War Rages

Ten Persons Killed as Tiv, Yache Communal War Rages

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By Magnus Effiong

Violent conflict between the Tiv people of Mbaaka, Benue State and Ijiegu-Yache community of Yala local government area of Cross River may have claimed ten lives if reports from the area is anything to go by.

Property worth millions of Naira were also said to have been destroyed in two days of confrontation between youths of the two communities. It was gathered that the crisis is over farmlands and boundaries between the warring communities.

Numerous sources from the war zone said violence broke out on Sunday and that apart from those confirmed dead, other victims, including women and children, from both sides were seriously injured, some with fatal machete cuts on their necks, foreheads and legs.

A community leader in Yache, Augustine Odey Adula, who spoke with our reporter from the conflict zone through his telephone, said they were in a church service on Sunday when pandemonium ensued.

“A few of our youths went to enquire from the Tiv settlers why they have refused to pay royalties as usual for settling on our lands. The TIv people seized one of our youths beat him to stupor and he died instantly.

“Of course, that triggered a reprisal. But they were prepared. They attacked and killed seven of our people and burnt 15 houses,” he stated.

Adula added that the Tiv people had actually been paying royalties on the land but decided to stop for no explainable reason.

Secretary of Yala and Cross River North Elders Forum, Barrister Leonard Anyogo, himself a Yache son, also confirmed the killing in an interview but added that security agencies have stepped into the matter.

He said the two Deputy Governors from Benue and Cross River States had earlier met in the same community where they appealed for peace whilst they handle the issue.

Anyogo explained that there has not been a clear cut boundary demarcation, adding that Tiv people of Benue state had settled on that land for years.

According to Anyogo, the land in dispute is actually where the boundary of the then Southern and Northern Protectorates was, which really was a Yache land.

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer of the Cross River State command, Irene Ugbo, confirmed the incident, saying security men have been deployed to the area.

“The crisis in Yala is true. We are aware and we have deployed our men. As I speak to you, they are on ground.

“We are appealing for calm on both sides because killing and maiming won’t solve the problem, only peaceful dialogue is the solution,” she stated.

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