by crossriverwatch admin
The representative of Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency in the House of Representative, Hon. Bassey Ewa, yesterday escaped death by the whiskers from militants in the ongoing communal war between the Adadama people of Abi local government in Cross River State and Amagu Community in Ikwo local government of Ebonyi State.
Hon. Ewa who said he was on an on-the-spot assessment of the situation having heard of the crises, also accused the governor of Ebonyi State, Mr. Martins Elechi of sponsoring the militants who have allegedly killed over fifteen members of the Adadama Community.
In a telephone chat with crossriverwatch, Hon. Ewa said: “It was a very terrible and horrible experience yesterday.
Having being briefed about the crises by the members of the affected community because I represent them in the House of Representatives, I visited the community to condole with the community because I heard that four persons had being killed. So I wanted to go and meet the bereaved, console with them, donate relief materials to those who have been displaced and assure them that government is working hard to bring the situation under control.
“But it is unimaginable how people abuse peace. From what I saw, nobody can convince me that the governor of Ebonyi did not sponsor those militants. There is no way villagers in those small peasant farming communities can afford Hilux buses and AK47 rifles with mobile Police uniforms if the government of Ebonyi state did not sponsor them.
“The four bodies I saw on the road were just killed not up to five minutes before I arrived. The killers were still around in the nearby bush, we almost ran into them. Maybe they would have killed us too. One of the women was on a bike with the family and she was brutally beheaded and the site was very gory. It is the kind of site I never pray to see again.
“I saw with my eyes how people were carrying arms and killing in Hilux vehicles and I know that the governor of Ebonyi is sponsoring those militants and it is unimaginable to think that a state governor can degenerate to that level because of just land. But my appeal is that we must come together as neighboring governments to see how we bring the situation under control and for the police to know that when they wear that uniform, they are not meant to support their people in any conflict but to protect every Nigerian.”
Crossriverwatch gathered that the fragile relationship existing between the neighbouring Cross River and Ebonyi Communities worsened on the 14th January 2013 when armed militants of Amagu community in Ikwo LGA of Ebonyi numbering over 50 in invaded Adadama community with sophisticated weapons including AK47, Kalashnikovs, GPMGs and hand grenades.
Due to their level of preparedness the militants were said to have crossed the G G Shute boundary line demarcating Adadama and Amagu.
Once they crossed the boundary line into Adadama, they were alleged to immediately found and kidnapped seven farmers consisting of mainly women and children and took them to unknown destinations in Amagu.
Thereafter they immediately proceeded to the Police station newly constructed by the Cross River State government close to the boundary line and razed it down. They were also said to have destroyed, vandalised and carted away valuable office furniture from the station.
Afterwards, eyewitnesses told crossriverwatch that the armed militants moved towards the first Adadama community of Ngoli shooting sporadically.
One of the eye witnesses told our reporter that “They were however confronted by the Adadama vigilante group made up of local hunters who showed bravery by exchanging gun fire with their local guns for over three hours. They were able force the militants to retreat from that point back to Amagu village. During the confrontation one Isang Enya aged 38years was shot by the militants and died on the spot.
“The vigilante group moved into part of Amagu by ambush and were able to rescue six of the farmers that were earlier abducted, but were unable to find one Madam Ekama Edu Ekpata aged 65 years.” who it was alleged had already been killed before the Adadama vigilante arrived.
A member of the Cross River State House of Assembly representing Abi State Constituency, Hon. John Gaul told crossriverwatch that “Earlier before the War broke out, the Adadama Community were already holding peaceful discussions with the Okpitomo and Amagu communities of Ebonyi.
“Consequently, the Adadama Traditional Rulers Council sent three delegates to attend a peace meeting in Ebonyi state based on a verbal accord, one of the delegates Mr. James Ekoro the Secretary of the Adadama Traditional Rulers Council was abducted by youths of Amagu while on his way to Okpitomo. He received over fifteen deep cuts all over the vital parts of his body and was later rescued by the Adadama vigilante and admitted at Eja memorial joint hospital, Itigidi”.
It was further gathered that due to the prompt combine response of the Chairman of Abi LGA, Hon. Frank Ettah, Hon. John Gaul and the State Security Adviser, Mr. Rekpene Bassey, a detachment of Operation MESA was drafted immediately to Adadama as at 14th January 2013.
On the 15th of January 2013 a Peace meeting was convened at the instance of the Ebonyi state government with the Chairmen of Abi and Ikwo LGAs in attendance and ten delegates each from Adadama and Amagu respectively, the DPOs of both LGAs and their State Security Service LG officers in attendance.
The meeting reportedly resolved that parties should cease fire and withdraw from the boundary lines of both states so as to allow the armed Mopol men to take over the boundary.
The Chairman of Abi complied immediately on the same date and the Adadama vigilante group were withdrawn from the border line into their villages.
The parties agreed to carry out a joint assessment visit to the affected communities on Monday, the 21st of January 2013 (tomorrow).
While the Abi team was preparing for this visit, a group of heavily armed men, some dressed in Mopol uniform numbering over twenty were said to have driven in two brand new Hilux vans without registration numbers into Abi LGA yesterday 19th January 2013 through Ugep-Abakaliki road at Agbo central into Adadama, blocked the entrance and started slaughtering innocent men and women.
Eyewitnesses told our reporter that “In one spot they killed over eight and beheaded two”.
The chief of staff to the state governor who is also from Abi LGA was said to have also made spirited efforts yesterday to see how riot policemen could be mobilized to the scene.
The acting governor of Cross River, Mr. Efiok Cobham was said to have also spoken with the Inspector General of Police yesterday and mobile policemen have been dispatched to the scene and the situation is temporarily under control with both sides still spoiling for war.
As for now, the fragile peace in the boundary communities is not different from the peace in the graveyard.
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