By Ikwen Atuaka
Obudu: Farmers in the Abonkib clan of Obudu local government area Thursday fled their farmlands following gunshots allegedly fired by the neighboring Tiv clan in Vandeikya local government area in Benue state.
The farmers, CrossRiverWatch gathered, numbered over twenty and could not continue work on their farms following sustained shots being fired by their neighboring community and fled for their lives with many abandoning their farmlands for fear of being abducted or killed as hostilities are renewing.
An eyewitness who spoke on condition of anonymity said when the first shots were fired, they thought it was a hunter but after several shots, those close to the border came running down shouting at everyone to evacuate their farmlands as the Tiv were invading again.
CrossRiverWatch also gathered that Abonkib youths rallied themselves and began preparations to respond but were prevailed upon to relax while one told our correspondent in confidence that their withdrawal was not an act of cowardice but tactical as they are now ready to engage the Tivs if the need arises.
The Community Relations Officer to Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State in Obudu, Emmanuel Akwagiobe told CrossRiverWatch that he has appealed to Abonkib youths to remain calm as efforts are being made to resolve the issues.
As at Saturday morning, unconfirmed information suggests that those who dared to farm did so “Prepared”.
This incident comes on the heels of another which the Police was fingered for nearly causing the war as they misinformed the Obudu people on the situation of things only for the situation to escalate and a full blown war averted since nobody from Obudu was hurt in the process.
Hostilities between the two clans dates as far back as the early 2000’s when the alleged abduction of a Bette Chief led to a full blown war that lasted weeks and claimed over 6 lives from the Obudu axis with unverified information suggesting a higher figure from the Tiv side.
Peace moves were initiated by both State governments with a bi-communal committee set to solve the issues raised. Part of the agreements reached was the ban placed on farming on a buffer zone which was marked by a palm tree close to the Aya river which the Bette people in Obudu claim they have implemented with no information from the Tiv side.
The land under question is said to be very large and very fertile.
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