Sporadic shooting is being reported in two communities in Yala council area of Cross River in a clash over a parcel of rice farm.
The shooting in O’Oba and Itega Okpame is said to have lasted all through Tuesday night and is ongoing still, Daily Trust correspondent in the state says.
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Number of casualties is yet to be determined, but five people were killed when both communities clashed last year.
Houses have been set ablaze, one of them belonging to Gabe Onah, a former chairman of Cross River carnival commission.
Cross River police commissioner Alhassan Aminu has confirmed the deployment of police to the area.
“Some miscreants from O’Oba invaded the other community and began to shoot,” he said.
He said he was aware that miscreants allegedly from O’Oba invaded the other community which had accused them of setting the rice farm on fire.
“Delegations from the warring communities had met with my DPO in charge of Okpoma. We have mobilised our men to take over these places. We are going to ensure peace and security.”
Meanwhile, elders of the communities assembled in the village square to see how to resolve the crisis.
But while the elders met, local folks have reportedly deserted the two communities and took refuge in the palace of the paramount ruler of Yala LGA, HRH Ogamode Onah Ipuole.
According to a community source, Helen Agbor, “Last night and into this morning, there was sporadic shooting and arson, especially on the major Ogoja-Abakaliki road that links the two communities.
“As a spillover effect, neighboring communities, especially Utukpo, Olachor and Anchor have not been at peace.
“Members of the communities gathered this morning at their respective village squares.
“Delegations were sent to the Paramount Ruler, HRH Ogamode Onah Ipuole, by elders of the communities.
“The Utukpo delegation was led by the Ogbuole (deputy clan head), Chief Moses Oko.
“The Itega community had cultivated rice on the disputed swamp and had harvested, awaiting threshing. Overnight, the harvest was set ablaze. They pointed accusing fingers at the O’Oba people. That was what set off this year’s crisis.”
Editor’s note: This story has been edited to reflect the latest information