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Benue communities resume hostility, burn houses

Two communities in Ikpayongo of Gwer East Local Government Area of Benue State, on Monday, resumed fighting and burning of houses in their rural environment.…

Two communities in Ikpayongo of Gwer East Local Government Area of Benue State, on Monday, resumed fighting and burning of houses in their rural environment.

Our correspondent reports that the renewed hostility among the Mbaivar and Mbasombo villagers was coming exactly one week after Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State announced the suspension of five traditional rulers from the Tiv area of the state for their alleged complicity in land-related disputes in their domains.

The governor had, three weeks earlier, suspended three other traditional heads in two local government areas of the state, including the areas currently in dispute.

READ: Banditry: Supremacy battle tears Benue communities apart

Several lives had recently been lost as the villagers engaged themselves over land disputes.

A local in the area, who did not want his name on print, told our correspondent by telephone that the Mbaivar and Mbasombo people renewed their rivalry on Monday afternoon as they allegedly burnt down houses, including one belonging to a priest in the area.

The witness, however, said no life had so far been lost and that he could not ascertain the reason for the fresh crisis by the warring villagers.

They had, on March 11, threw caution to the wind when they fought each other barely few days after both communities disagreed over the location where one of their dead persons ought to be buried.

Confirming the development, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state (PPRO), DSP Catherine Anene, disclosed that the warring communities reached a peaceful agreement at the weekend, wondering why they again resorted to violence.

“They actually resumed burning of houses at Ikpayongo today (Monday) but police officers have been deployed there and the situation is put under control,” Anene said.