By Ushang Ewa and Violet Isek
Security agencies operating in Cross River state have been silent despite unconfirmed information dominating public discourse that over two dozen are feared dead in renewed hostilities between Osopong in Obubra local government area of central Cross River State and Izzi local government area of Ebonyi state.
Calls and text messages to the spokesperson of the Police command in Cross River State, Mrs. Irene Ugbo have neither been acknowledged nor replied.
Mrs. Ugbo, an Assistant Superintendent of Police has kept replying our correspondent that she will call back but to no avail.
However, independent findings by CrossRiverWatch reveals that several have sustained various degrees of injuries with none confirmed dead by sources on ground so far.
A broadcaster, Peter Okan uploaded gory images of victims who sustained injuries on Facebook but CrossRiverWatch could not independently verify this.
The hostilities began on the morning of Friday March 16, 2018 when natives of Ofonekom and Ijutum as well as some parts of Idoru heard gunshots while going to farm.
The shots suspected to be from the Izzi people caught some unawares and they sustained gun wounds and were rushed to the hospital where they have been receiving treatment.
An elder statesman and former Assembly man, Mr. Alex Irek confirmed this development to CrossRiverWatch and lamented that despite contacting the Commander, 13 Brigade of the Nigerian Army nothing had been done.
“Yes, what happened I think the war broke out this morning around a place called Ofoneköm and then from there, it spread to Idoru.
“I had already called the Brigade Commander to report to him about it so he said he was going to do something about it but I don’t know because they keep telling that up till now there are still firing, so I have said that I will call him again, if nothing is done then I will call the GOC,” Mr. Irek told CrossRiverWatch on Friday afternoon.
The Army command in Cross River State has been reached for comments.
However, residents confirmed Mr. Irek’s fear that the Army command in Cross River will not turn up with an Ijutum native saying that those seen were not near the place of fighting.
And, despite information suggesting that the fighting continued till Tuesday morning, no security agency nor the state government has issued a statement on the matter leaving journalists to report on only pieces of information.
Osopong is located about 200 kilometres north of the port city of Calabar, the Cross River Capital.
It is a typically hard to reach area with the journey by road to the river edge in Obubra typically almost four hours before one can board a canoe to the community which shares a similar cultural heritage with the Izzi people of Ebonyi state.
These, among other factors such as poor internet connectivity and network reception has made getting information from locals difficult.
Also, several calls to the State Security Adviser, Mr. Jude Ngaji did not connect on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
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