Boundary Crisis: Ebonyi community declares three youth missing

Ebonyi State Map
Ebonyi State Map

The people of Echara in Ikwo local government area of Ebonyi State on Wednesday said three youth went missing after an attack on Okpeera village in the community.

The president of the town union, Nwonu Sunday, said this when Governor David Umahi visited the local government area to commiserate with a family which lost seven members in the attack.

The seven members of the family were, last month, burnt to death while returning home from the Ebonyi State University matriculation ceremony in Abakiliki, the state capital, when they were ambushed and burnt to death on the Enyigba/Ikwo road by suspected warlords.

The two communities of Enyigba and Ikwo have been enmeshed in a boundary dispute for years that have led to the death of many and the destruction of properties worth millions of naira.

Mr Nwonu said the three missing boys were also returning from the matriculation ceremony on a motorcycle when they were abducted.

He named the missing as Udoka Nteh, Chibunna Nkwuda, and Chukwuma Nwoba.

Mr Nwonu said the community had information that the three boys were being held in a forest.

“If the killing of the seven members of John Nweke’s family is what would bring permanent peace, we can’t question God, because he knows everything.

“But we want to appeal to the governor to ensure that the three of our youth who have been missing since the incident are released to us.

“We are hearing rumours that they are tied in the forest. Let them be released to us,” he said.

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“At least, we are consoled by the fact that we saw the corpses of those that were burnt and confirmed they are dead. But the other three people, we can’t say that they are dead or alive because we didn’t see their bodies,” he said.

Mr Nwonu said the community had refused to go to war despite repeated provocations from neighbours.

Also speaking, Andrew Nteh, said his son, Udoka, is one of the three boys missing.

He urged the government to rescue the boys and fish out the killers of their people who were returning from matriculation.

Mr Nweke, who lost seven members of his family, commended the state government for showing concern but appealed to the governor to come to his aid.

In his speech, the governor who was represented by his Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Welfare and Religion, Abraham Nwali, urged the family and the entire community to take heart over the loss.

Mr Nwali, who led some Christian clerics and leaders of CAN on the condolence visit, said the government was doing everything possible to ensure lasting peace in the state.

He said the government has set up a judicial panel of inquiry to investigate the crisis. He assured them that anybody found culpable would be brought to book.

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