No fewer than five persons in Emede community, Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State have been reportedly killed while over ten houses have been set ablaze by armed youths of Igbide community following a land dispute between the two communities.
SaharaReporters learned that the crisis, which started Tuesday and continued Wednesday, has claimed five lives at Emede community while houses and properties worth millions of naira have been razed down by the Igbide armed youths.
The age-long boundary dispute between the two communities had in 1986 to 1987 caused the death of over a hundred people, including houses that had been destroyed.
Speaking with SaharaReporters, an indigene of Emede community who identified himself as Kome and witnessed the Tuesday and Wednesday bloody crisis, said that the fight started from the bush where farmers were attacked by armed youths from the neighbouring Igbide community.
“At the bush, the armed Igbide youths killed one of our persons. Tuesday night, they also invaded our community where they shot sporadically, using sophisticated weapons,” he said.
“On Wednesday, the armed Igbide youths also invaded our community with sophisticated weapons, shooting sporadically and left another four of our people dead while over ten houses were set ablaze in the community before they left.
“The Igbide armed youths attacked us unexpectedly on Wednesday morning. Their guns are too sophisticated, and we don’t have weapons that can match them hence they had a field day killing our people, burning our houses and other properties and left unchallenged,” the source said.
Our correspondent gathered that as at the time of filing this report, panic has gripped both communities while residents are said to be relocating to other neighbouring communities for safety.
Reacting to the development, chairman of Isoko South Local Government Area, Itiako Constantine Ikpokpo, described the situation as very embarrassing, even as he blamed the crisis on the failure of leadership in both communities.
“It’s a regrettable and embarrassing situation we have at hand. Just yesterday, Tuesday, we held a meeting with both communities and just today, Wednesday, they are taking up arms against themselves. This shows there are dangerous weapons in their possession. While others are using their weapons to chase away herdsmen, they are using theirs to kill themselves,” he said.
“I have reached out to the governor who in turn reached out to the state commissioner of police, the brigade commander and the DSS and I can tell you they are all on the ground to curb the situation. I am appealing to both warring communities to sheath their swords and embrace peace,” added.
When contacted on the issue, the Delta State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Onome Onovwakpoyeya, asked that a message be sent to her mobile line which has not been responded to as at the time of this report.
Saharareporters, New York