By Our Reporter
Uneasy calm persist in Yakurr Local Government in Central Cross River State with allegations flying around about whether some soldiers and civilians were killed or not.
Though CrossRiverWatch could not ascertain the correct number, our reporter from Yakurr says that a detachment of soldiers that were sent to the scene of the crises to clear the Calabar Ikom highway that had been blocked by irate youths were attacked by the youths who shot at them and killed unconfirmed number of soldiers. While some sources say it was three soldiers that were killed, others say it was only one.
Several attempts to confirm the information from military authorities by our reporter were not successful. The spokesperson of the 13 Brigade in Calabar, Captain Owolabi could not be reached on the phone throughout yesterday while messages to his phone also did not deliver and the telephone number of the Chief of Army Staff available to CrossRiverWatch also did not connect.
But the Obol Lopon of Ugep, His Royal Majesty, Obol Ofem Eteng Ubana told CrossRiverWatch that: “I understand that irate youths attacked the Army that was sent to calm the situation but I cannot say if any of the soldiers were killed or the number that were killed if any but I was informed that the soldiers were attacked. The story about the killing of 15 people is not true.
“If anyone says 15 or more people were killed, that person is not correct. I think that this issue is too sensitive for us to confirm information that we do not have any proof but as I am talking to you now, calm has returned. All the security agencies are all fully represented here and the situation is undr control now.”
But on the contrary, the Obol Lopon of Mkpani, one of the warring communities, Obol Sunday Obono told CrossRiverWatch that: “I was reliably informed by my subjects that what happened was that some men dressed in military uniform came here disguising as soldiers to calm the situation and when our people cooperated with them, our people were later attacked and killed by these fake soldiers, consequently another set of people who came on Sunday in military uniforms, I understand our youths decided to fight back not knowing whether they were real soldiers or fake ones.
“I cannot say if anyone of them died but I can confirm that over 15 of our youths have been killed in the aftermath of the incident. Several others have been wounded and they are here with me while more are still dying. The army led by one Colonel Sambo Mohammed arrived Mkpani that evening shooting sporadically and in the process 15 people were killed.”
When asked if the dead were in the morgue or have been buried, the Monarch simply said: “Two were buried yesterday and the others are still in the bush and their families have cried to me here that they are missing.”
Efforts to speak with the Chairman of Yakurr LGA, Obol Ikpi Ikpi Akpama and the Minister of Niger Delta, Usani Usani who are both from Nko, one of the warring communities were not yet successful as at press time.
Meanwhile, the Special Assistant to President Buhari on Prosecution, Okoi Obono Obla has condemned the violence headlong and called on the Commissoner of Police in Cross River State to ensure that those behind the disturbances are ruthlessly dealt with.
In a statement by Barrister Obla, he said: “The tripartite communal crisis between Inyima, Mkpani, Onyadama, and Nko is foolish in the extreme. This is a useless, idiotic, foolish, barbaric and utterly hopeless conflict. It is totally condemnable and undesirable.
“In this modern times, I see no justification for this foolish conflict. Ugep must show leadership and not be drawn into this foolish conflict under any guise. I spoke to the Commissioner of Police, Cross River State this morning and I urged him to use maximum force on the promoters and instigators of this idiotic conflict. Anybody who takes the law into his hands should be ruthlessly and severely dealt with by the Police.”
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