Nigerian soldiers have reportedly killed 10 people and displaced several others in a community in Cross River State, Nigeria’s South-south.
The soldiers were said to be on a reprisal on June 26 in Nko community, Yakurr Local Government Area of the state, after one of their commanders was killed in the community, according to a report published by HumAngle.
The soldiers also razed some houses in the community, the paper reported with photos of burnt buildings sent in by witnesses.
The slain soldier was a part of the troops on a peacekeeping mission in the central part of Cross River where Nko and another community – Onyadama – have been engaged for about a decade in a violent dispute over farmland.
The police spokesperson in Cross River, Irene Ugbo, confirmed the death of the soldier.
HumAngle quoted a woman, Esther, who claimed her father was among those killed by the soldiers.
“My father had arthritis, so he couldn’t walk well, which made it difficult for him to leave his house. The soldiers locked him inside and burnt the house,” she said.
“This was done to other villagers too,” she added.
Continuing, Esther said: “My mother, Mary Offem, is in her 60s and currently hiding in the bush because the soldiers are still there.
“She was the one who called to inform us about the incident. She’s in the bush with some other villagers as we speak. The experience has been terrible for me, and we need the authorities to stop the soldiers from shooting.”
Onyeama Nwachukwu, the army spokesperson, confirmed the attack on the troops.
“The troops were attacked and shot at with firearms. Five personnel who were critically wounded are currently under intensive medical care,” Mr Nwachukwu, a brigadier-general, said, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Mr Nwachukwu, in the NAN report, did not speak on the reported killing of residents in the community.
The army spokesperson in Cross River also said he can’t speak on the matter when reached for comment.
Meanwhile, the Cross River State government has announced the sacking of some traditional rulers in the warring communities.
Linus Obogo, the media aide to Governor Ben Ayade, who disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday, said the government has taken over the ownership of the disputed land.
“Government has ordered the sustenance of army operations in Nko community until those behind the shooting of the six military personnel are produced or fished out,” Mr Obogo said in the statement.
Explosives found in car
Troops on June 21 intercepted a car on a highway in Cross River, conveying explosives and ammunition towards the Obudu Mountains in the northern part of the state.
A statement from the army said the driver of the car attempted to evade security checks before the troops opened fire on the car tyres.
“A thorough search conducted on the vehicle revealed it was conveying 72 Improvised Explosive Device chargers, 121 Dynamite Liquid, 200 rounds of 7.62 mm (NATO) and 82 rounds of 7.62 mm (Special) ammunition.
“Other items recovered in the intercepted vehicle are military uniforms and kits,” the army said.
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