Death Toll In Prolonged Ijiegu-Yache/Tiv Crisis Climbs As Residents Desert Community

In Crime, National News, Reports

By Jonathan Ugbal

The death toll in the conflict between the Ijiegu-Yache community in Yala Local Government Area of Cross River State and the Mbaaka community of Konshisha Local Government Area of Benue State has climbed to at least eight.

This follows the gruesome murder of two children yesterday.

The root cause of the war is disagreements over the payment of royalties and some form of localized tenement rates between the Mbaaka indigents, whom the Ijiegu-Yache people claim were only allowed to settle in their farmlands.

“Their forebears settled there, but the young generation doesn’t want to continue paying these royalties and are building permanent residents,” a National Executive of the Ijiegu-Yache Development Association told CrossRiverWatch via phone, on the condition of anonymity.

The structures, according to the executive, are not part of the agreement both communities have in their settlement, which is close to the Lugard wall. The wall is a worn-out physical structure that was erected by Lord Frederick Lugard to separate the Northern and Southern protectorates more than a century ago and serves as the boundary between Benue and Cross River States.

Both settler and host communities are said to have lived in harmony for a long time until less than a decade ago when the argument about the former’s failure to pay royalties to the latter, arose.

How The Current Conflict Began

Trouble began on July 22nd, 2023 when some youths believed to be natives of Mbaaka captured one Ogbudu Obuogor, a youth in his early thirties, beat him to a stupor and inflicted injuries on his body leading to his death shortly afterward.

This led to a reprisal with some houses belonging to Mbaaka natives razed.

The Commissioner for Education in Cross River, Dr. Stephen Odey convened a peace meeting a week later on July 29th at the Local Government Council Secretariat in Abuochiche in neighboring Bekwarra. But that did not stop the crisis.

“The next day on the 30th, some people went to the farm, and four people were captured and have not been seen to date,” another native of Ijiegu-Yache disclosed, also on the condition of anonymity.

Cross River State Governor, Senator Bassey Otu is said to have waded into the matter, and his Deputy, Rt. Hon. Peter Odey convened a meeting with his Benue State counterpart, Hon. Sam Odeh, and several other stakeholders on August 9, 2023, where it was agreed that perpetrators be brought to book.

However, 24 hours later, a woman, Mrs. Iyaji Odey was captured and killed. Her corpse was recovered and laid to rest.

The parties agreed that security personnel should be stationed at both ends. But, Ijiegu-Yache natives say those from the Cross River end rarely go into the farmlands and spend most of their time at the Primary School in the community.

The Recent Incident

The Ijiegu-Yache community decided to allow youths to keep guard in the farmlands to ward off attacks until yesterday when they were invaded in their community about 30 kilometers from the Lugard wall with two children abducted and killed.

Gory images obtained and verified by CrossRiverWatch show that at least three people sustained serious injuries, while the corpses of the two children who lived with their grandfather, simply identified as Woder, were left lying in the bush.

Aside from the eight deaths recorded so far, 14 houses were torched, which when added to one earlier, totals 15, with residents scared to return to their homes and farms.

See the gory pictures below… (viewer’s discretion is advised).

This woman with a deep cut on her face is a victim of the recent conflict between Ijiegu-Yache in Yala LGA, Cross River State and Mbaaka in Konshisha LGA of Benue State which has claimed at least eight lives between July 22nd and September 10, 2023 alone

This woman with blood soaked clothes is a victim of the recent conflict between Ijiegu-Yache in Yala LGA, Cross River State and Mbaaka in Konshisha LGA of Benue State which has claimed at least eight lives between July 22nd and September 10, 2023 alone

This is the photograph of the leg of a victim of the recent conflict between Ijiegu-Yache in Yala LGA, Cross River State and Mbaaka in Konshisha LGA of Benue State which has claimed at least eight lives between July 22nd and September 10, 2023 alone

This is the photograph of one of the two Woder twins brutally murdered in the recent conflict between Ijiegu-Yache in Yala LGA, Cross River State and Mbaaka in Konshisha LGA of Benue State which has claimed at least eight lives between July 22nd and September 10, 2023 alone

This is the photograph of one of the two Woder twins brutally murdered in the recent conflict between Ijiegu-Yache in Yala LGA, Cross River State and Mbaaka in Konshisha LGA of Benue State which has claimed at least eight lives between July 22nd and September 10, 2023 alone

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