By Oginyi Ruth
The Police in Ebonyi State have confirmed the killing of a six-month-old baby and the mother including six others in the renewed clash over the lingering boundary dispute between Eyigba and Alike communities in Abakaliki and Ikwo Local Government Areas of the state.
The victims including the unidentified six-month-old baby was reportedly burnt when crisis broke out between the two warring communities last weekend over a disputed land in the area.
Among the victims, according to the police, is a wife of a policeman who is currently posted to Borno State to fight Boko Haram insurgents in the North Eastern part of the country.
WARRI TODAY learnt that the two sister communities had been engaged on shooting spree and maiming of lives and property since last Saturday April 6th, 2019 at about 9am.
Six of the victims who are said to be members of Nweke family were burnt to ashes when a bus conveying them from the matriculation ceremony of the Ebonyi State University where one of their family members was admitted on Saturday
Two of the victims, were, however, died as a result of gunshot injuries sustained during their attacks including the policeman’s wife who was going to Nweda market.
The Ebonyi State Public Relations Officer, DSP Loveth Odah confirmed the incident to Journalists on Monday after the visit of the State Commissioner of Police, Awotunde Awoshola to the affected local governments, said the security operatives would go after those who perpetrated the crime.
Odah noted that the incident took place along the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu Alike road near the border between the two communities.
She explained that four persons were currently receiving treatment at the Federal Teaching Hospital from the gunshot wounds they sustained while bodies of two persons who were discovered in the bush have been deposited in the mortuary.
The police image-maker said, “It is a longstanding dispute between Ndiagu Alike community in Ikwo Local government area and Enyibichiri community in Abakaliki local government area that erupted the on Saturday.
“A vehicle conveying some of the victims was seen burning on the road after it was allegedly set ablaze by warriors from one of the warring communities.
“The victims were coming from Abakaliki where they attended a matriculation of their son. Five of them were from the same family including a little baby and one is a neighbour who joined them. They were burnt to ashes.”
Odah explained that the driver upon sighting the warlords, made efforts to turn the car but in his haste fall into a ditch and got inflame while the hoodlums were busy shooting on the occupants.
She added that the gunmen opened fire on the vehicle with Reg: No: KTU 119 EEX and some bullets punctured the fuel tank and it caught fire killing the six occupants.
“Also three other persons were also attacked and two of them were killed. One of them a woman was the wife of a police officer deployed to Bornu state”, she said.
Commissioner for Border Peace and Internal Security, Dr Kenneth Ugbala on his part, said some occupants of other cars behind the burnt bus were also injured by stray bullets.
“They are receiving treatment at the hospital in Abakaliki”, he said
Ugbala, who condemned the gruesome killing, said government has deployed more security operatives to the area to restore normalcy.
“The Deputy Governor of the state, Kelechi Igwe will soon visit the area to ascertain the level of damage”, the commissioner added.