Movement of vehicles and passengers along the Enugu-Abakaliki Highway in Nigeria’s south-east was disrupted on Tuesday, following heavy shooting at the Ezilo axis of the highway by unknown gunmen.
Two persons were killed on Monday in a renewed boundary dispute between Ezzilo community and neighboring Iyionu community.
Both communities are in Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
It could not be immediately established if the shooting had any connection with the dispute.
A passenger who was travelling to Enugu said travellers were stranded at Okpoto for about one hour.
He said military vehicles were patrolling the highway, but that motorists were advised not to get into the road.
“Many people are looking for another route to take. Some have gone back to take Afikpo road. I am looking for a way to go back to Abakaliki,” he said.
Police spokesperson in Ebonyi State, Loveth Odah, confirmed the development.
She said the Police Commissioner, Aliyu Garba, has dispatched police patrol teams to restore peace and open up the road for users.
She, however, said the shooting could not be related to the boundary dispute as the disputed area is not close to the highway.
Governor David Umahi earlier confirmed the killing of two persons in the dispute, after a security council meeting in Abakaliki.
He expressed dismay at the role played by the councilor representing the area in the crisis.
According to him, the state government committee working on the land dispute was on the verge of resolving the dispute, having declared the disputed land as buffer zone.
“But the councilor took some foreign investors to the land and this led to shootings during which two persons died,” he said
The governor ordered the arrest of the councilor.
Mr Umahi also condemned the renewed crisis in the Effium community in Ohaukwu Local Government Area which he blamed on publications in some conventional and social media by one Pascal Oluchukwu.
“His publication in a national daily at a time peace was gradually returning to the area heightened tension and led to recent killings in the area,” he said.
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