According to reports, the violent conflict that has been occurring among the people of Wanikade and their Wanhehim neighbors in Yala Local Government Area of Cross River State has resulted in the loss of 18 lives and has also in the homelessness of more than 3000 people in both communities.
The conflict which has seen the exertion of violence by both communities against each other has been raging since last Wednesday and was largely due to disagreements over a piece of farmland located in the boundary that separates the two communities. However, the violence has resulted in massive destruction of farms and properties in five villages.
According to the narration given to news sources by Chief Obok Okem, a traditional ruler in the area, a resident of Utolo village in the Wanikade community cleared a piece of land believed to be his. However, a neighbor of his and a resident of the Wanihem community disputed his ownership of the land and proceeded to cultivate crops on the land which had been cleared by the Wanikade indigene
These proceedings resulted in a squabble between the two which progressed to a free for all affair between the youths from both communities.
“The youths from Wanikade levelled the heaps dug by Wanihem people on the piece of land cleared by the Wanikade man and from there the youths from both sides began a grandstanding which eventually led to a fight,” he said.
According to Chief Okem, the youths engaged in an exchange of blows which then proceeded to the hurling of stones at each other, an activity which degenerated into the usage of guns and machetes against each other. After many days of continued fighting, scores were killed and over 200 houses in both communities were razed.
He further disclosed that the efforts made by Elders from both communities to stop the youths from exerting violence proved futile as the violence continued.
“Over five villages on both sides have been burned with property worth millions of naira lost in the process thereby rendering over 3,000 people homeless,” he said.
Another source revealed that the fighting continued till Friday
“Soldiers have been able to stop the fight for now after the police could not do so but so much destruction had been inflicted on both villages.”
Mr. Jude Ngaji, the Security Adviser of Cross River disclosed that soldiers from the Brigadier Ally cantonment in Ogoja had been dispatched to the area to stop the violence and contain further altercations