Aku and Ikolo communities in Igboetiti local government council in Enugu State are now under heavy police occupation following a clash
that erupted on Thursday between the two communities that left several injuries and property worth millions of naira destroyed.
The Guardian gathered that the incident, which could have resulted into a full-scale war and killings but for police intervention, left
at least 20 persons severely injured with houses and poultry farm razed.
It was gathered that the two neighboring communities had been at loggerheads for some time now over boundary, a development that had defied intervention of leaders of the areas.
Trouble was said to have started Thursday afternoon, when youths from Ikolo allegedly blocked the major road leading to Aku and resorted to extorting passers-by and other road users, including motorcyclists.
Another source said, however, that it was as a result of disagreement that erupted among youths over an encroachment in the contentious area by natives of Aku.
A source stated that the situation went out of control when the few youths resorted to a free for all that attracted other members from both communities, adding that several dangerous objects were deployed in the attack.
A poultry farm belonging to a former local council chairman worth several millions of naira and other property were destroyed, while
several persons from both communities sustained serious injuries and are being treated in various hospitals.
President General of Aku General Assembly, Fidelis Ezeoyili told The Guardian, that at least, six members of his community were currently hospitalised, adding that their injuries arose from machete cuts, gunshots and use of other dangerous weapons.He said the community has a history of boundary dispute with Ikolo and that efforts to resolve the problem had not yielded dividends.
“In September last year, we wrote the state governor and copied relevant agencies on the need to put permanent solution on the problem
by demarcating the contentious portion so that we can have peace; but as I speak to you, nothing has been heard from government. We decided to put up that letter because of frequent attacks on our people around the boundary areas. They will mould blocks and they are destroyed, they will farm and somebody will cut down their crops among several others.
“Now, look at the level of destruction that our people have incurred. We restricted our youths from engaging in reprisal attack; otherwise the destruction will be massive. But we cannot continue this way and that is why I am appealing to the state government to please do something about this boundary issue. Many houses have been burnt and injuries sustained; nobody is sure what will happen next,” he said
James Akadu, an Architect, who hails from Ikolo, described the destruction as “massive”, stressing that the leaders of the town and
security operatives have taken inventory of destruction. He stated that something should be done to avert further hostilities.
Meanwhile, the Police have said it deployed its men to the warring communities to avert further clashes, stressing that its intervention
prevented “full blown war and killings”.
A statement by the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Ebere Amaraizu, which confirmed destruction of property and injuries on both communities, urged the warring communities to maintain peace and not to take laws into their hands.
Amaraizu said that normalcy had been restored to the area as security had been already beefed up in the communities, adding however that, “leaders of the communities, including the youth leaders, are being engaged for a lasting peace and resolution of the misunderstanding between the two communities.