No fewer than 20 people were on Thursday killed in an invasion of the Ofonekom community, in Obubra Local Government Area of Cross River State by a neighbouring community of Izzi in Ebonyi State.
The conflict between the two communities had been recurring over a land dispute.
According to an indigene of Ofonekom, David Okolo, armed men from Izzi invaded their community in a surprise attack in the early hours of Thursday and killed many people after burning down houses.
He claimed that over 20 people, including women and children, were killed by the attackers.
Okolo said, “As I speak with you, many people have been driven from their homes.
“Not less than 20 people were killed while they were asleep. They included women and children. They burnt down our houses.
“We have nowhere to stay and nothing to eat or drink. It is a terrible situation here. Government should do something urgently.”
Another resident, Mary Etaba, said the communal crisis started three days ago, adding that it had claimed many lives.
“So many people have been driven away from their homes and are now sleeping in bushes around with no food or water. The war is still ongoing. Government should come to our aid,” she told Punch.
A former Minority Leader in the Cross River State House of Assembly, Mr. Alex Irek, said Ofonekom was besieged by their neighbours.
“Ofonekom is under siege. At about 4am on Thursday, there was an attack by one of the warring communities of Izzi. Several houses and about 20 persons were murdered in their sleep, including infants,” he said.
But the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hafiz Inuwa, said the number of casualties was overblown.
“Sometimes, these figures are blown out of proportion. I can confirm that some houses were burnt and peace had returned to the community after we deployed policemen there,” he said.