UPDATED: Infant, seven others killed in Ebonyi communal crisis

Nigerian Police officers used to illustrate the story
Nigerian Police officers used to illustrate the story

The Police in Ebonyi State has confirmed the killing of eight persons, including a three-month baby in the resumed boundary dispute between two communities in the state.

While six of the victims, five from the same family, were burnt to death in a bus they were travelling in; the others were shot dead.

The attacks happened along the Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike road, near the border between the two communities.

The police spokesperson in the state, Loveth Odah, confirmed the incident. She said the incident happened on Saturday.

According to her, one of the victims is the wife of a police officer serving in the state but now on secondment to Bornu State.

“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,” she said.

“A vehicle was seen burning on the road allegedly set ablaze by ‘warriors’ from one of the communities.

“The victims were coming from Abakaliki where they attended the matriculation of their son. Five of them were from the same family including a baby; one is a neighbour who joined them.

“Also three other persons were attacked, and two of them were killed. One of them, a woman was the wife of a police officer deployed to Bornu,” she said.

Other injured- Official

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The Commissioner for Border Peace and Internal Security, Kenneth Ugbala, 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

He wondered why a land dispute ”will spill into markets and road very far from the where the disputed land is”.

He said the state 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.”

It was also learnt that the state Governor, David Umahi who is outside the country has cut short his vacation and will be back to the state soon to attend to the crisis.

The communities have had an intractable land tussle for decades, and all attempts to settle the dispute by successive administrations in the state have proved abortive.

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