A fresh communal clash was reported to have claimed the lives of 28 persons in Okpobula Community, predominantly Ezza people who are living in Ado local government area of Benue state.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, CP Wale Abass, confirmed the attack saying only three persons were killed.
Locals in the area said trouble started on Monday and lasted till Wednesday with some properties destroyed including houses and domestic animals.
An eyewitness who pleaded not to be named said that the identities of the attackers of Azioke 1& 2 in Okpobula community who are both Benue and Ebonyi indigenes are the Effioms living within the boundary areas of Benue and Ebonyi states.
According to him, “These people, (the attackers) invaded our community this afternoon and launched unprovoked attacks on us.
“Nobody knows what happened before today’s attacks. The warlords came into the community at about 11am this morning unknown to us and started killing anything in sight. The next neighbour to me is a family of eight and they were all killed. In my family, we are six in numbers, they killed two of my children and am yet to see my wife two other children.
“So far, we have seen many dead bodies while escaping from the area and many others are missing with many injured while many are now displaced”.
The Executive Chairman of Ado Local Government Council, Chief James Oche confirmed the incident, describing it as inhuman.
According to the chairman, the crisis started from Ebonyi state and spread to Ezza community in Benue State.
He said there has been agelong clanish fight between communities in Ebonyi and Benue states.
Oche said that one of the largest market in Ezza community in the local government was completely destroyed.
“The crisis is between Effunn and Ezza people, the crisis started from Ebonyi state and escalated to communities in Benue State.
“What I heard was that someone from one of the communities desecrated one of their shrine and instead of settling their crisis in Ebonyi they moved the crisis to Benue where over 28 people have been killed on this side as at last count today.
The chairman said that security men have been deployed to the affected areas but regretted the loss of lives.
“Women and children were killed and property worth several millions of naira destroyed. For instance, at Ulayi ward they sacked five of the 10 council wards and the second largest market in the council was destroyed.
Chief Oche called on relevant security agencies to, as a matter of urgency, go after the assailants, get them arrested and prosecute in line with the Nigerian penal code law.
When contacted, the State Commissioner of Police, Wale Abass said the crisis was more of Ebonyi people which spread to border communities on Benue side.
He debunked the figure of casualties saying that no one except security men could access the troubled area, saying, “on Benue side three people have been killed”.
He said that security men have been deployed to the area.
Meanwhile, Senator representing Benue South Senatorial District, Comrade Abba Moro, has condemned the unprovoked attack on Okpobula Community of Apa Ward, in Ado LGA which left several persons dead and properties worth millions of naira destroyed.
Moro who described the attack as one attack too many said the murder was carried out in the most beastial manner.
Senator Moro decries the incessant attacks on the community and wonders what the unrepentant aggressors stand to gain from mindlessly attacking and Killing innocent people in the community all the time.
In a statement signed by his Special Assistant on New Media, Emmanuel Eche-Ofun John, Senator Moro charged security agents to go after the perpetrators of the heinous crime and bring them to book.
He also appealed to the people to remain calm and corporate with the security agents to deal with the situation, and not embarking on reprisals.
Also, Member representing Ado Ogbadibo Okpokwu Federal Constituency, Dr Francis Ottah Agbo has condemned Tuesday’s attack on Okpobula community of Ado Local Government of Benue State.
Agbo in a statement signed by his Media Adviser, Mr. Andrew Agbese, sympathized with the victims of the attacks and called on the security agencies to move swiftly to bring to book, those behind the coordinated attacks.