Tuesday, February 4, 2020
Two persons have reportedly been killed at Isu community in Arochukwu local government area of Abia State following a boundary clash with their Utuma neighbours of Biase local government area of Cross Rivers State.
There has been no love lost between the Isu clan and the Utuma community over the years as they have been fighting and killing one another in a land dispute that has sent many to their untimely grave.
Sources in the area told our reporter that there has never been any time Isu and Utuma will have a disagreement over the land boundary without the two agrarian communities recording casualties.
The source stated that all attempts to forestall peace in the area by the two state governments have proved abortive.
It was gathered the gunmen, who invaded the Isu community at about 8am on Monday, shot two persons dead and fled.
President General of Isu Community, Elder Felix Okoro, stated that gunmen had laid siege on Isu land where they killed two natives of the community while about 10 are missing.
He disclosed that the hoodlums came from the disputed area at Iheosu-Isu to attack the natives who had been taking refuge at a location in the community.
In his words: “The hoodlums invaded Isu clan this morning and shot dead two persons. We have been suffering attacks from our Utuma neighbours. This conflict started when limestone was discovered in Isu community and the Utuma have been laying claim to it, killing Isu people. Over 40 houses have been burnt and 60 persons killed with 3 villages sacked.
“For about two years now, the People of Iheosu- Isu and other villages have fled from the land because they were being killed and their houses burnt. They have become internally displaced persons in their land. The IDPS are now quartered at Ohabuike primary School, Obieze Isu. We are calling on the federal and state government to protect Isu people before they kill all of us.
“We have a state of emergency at hand with the over 3,500 IDPs at the primary school. Isu people are grateful to NEMA and the Abia state government for sending relief materials. It costs the community N2 million monthly to buy food, clothing and drugs for them.
“The IDPs cannot farm because their lands have been taken over and their houses burnt. Any Isu man who goes to the Iheosu-Isu is killed.
“Isu people are worried at the situation; we are being slaughtered like chicken. The Deputy Governors of Abia and Cross Rivers States have visited Isu and Utuma and appealed for peace, yet our Utuma neighbours won’t allow us live in peace. We no longer go to the disputed area which is our land, but they have continued to attack us.”
He urged the National Boundary Commission, NBC, as well as the Abia and Cross River State governments to urgently make further efforts to protect lives and property.
Contacted on the incident, Abia State Police Commissioner, Mr. Ene Okon, said the area is calm, stressing he sent a detachment of Mobile Policemen to the area to support their counterparts who had been keeping security in the area.