By Ushang Ewa
The Wanihem and Wanikade crisis in Ukelle community of Yala local government area of northern Cross River State has left no fewer than 150 people dead with a further 14,000 displaced the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) said on Tuesday in Calabar, the state capital.
Mr. John Inaku, the Director General confirmed this in a statement which said that 1,233 houses were also destroyed in the process which led to the fleeing of the inhabitants of some 41 villages to the neighboring Oju local government area of southern Benue state located about 20 kilometers away.
The war which began on June 29, 2017 over a piece of land has seen been the most bloody in recent years in a state plagued with crisis for the past 4 years.
“As a result of the bloody war, 14,000 people have been displaced, 1,233 houses were destroyed, while over 150 persons have lost their lives.
“Victims of the affected communities are now internally displaced and camping in over four camps in Benue State,” the statement read and lauded the Benue state government for taking in some 4,000 internally displaced persons.
They are residing in four camps in Oju local government area built by the Benue State government according to the secretary of the local government area, Mr. Samuel Oko, who said some of them are being camped in community halls, churches and schools.
The Cross River State Government however says it has distributed some relieve materials and called on the National Emergency Management Agency to come to its aid even as it hoped that the warring communities and Cross Riverians embrace peace.
“CR-SEMA in collaboration with the state’s Food Bank Commission has distributed bags of rice, beans, groundnut and palm oil, beverages, cooking utensils, cartons of Indomie (noodles), mosquito nets, among others to the victims,” the statement read.
CrossRiverWatch had earlier reported that hundreds have been injured in the war with the state planning to carry out emergency medical services delivery to prevent a health crisis.
But, health personnel were still faced with the challenge of evacuating the wounded from the war front.
UPDATE: Meanwhile, a picture circulating on social media shows the immediate past Councillor of Wanikade, one Mr. Owalum Francis Igbologidi bearing an AK-47 rifle. The picture is said to have been taken after the first day of war when the Wanikade people engaged their neighboring Wanihem.
The picture has drawn outrage on social media with some people calling for his arrest as they wondered how a leader became an active participant in the north Ukelle carnage.
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