Ben Ezechime, Enugu
Scores of persons were feared missing while several houses with property worth millions of naira were lost in a communal clash which occurred in Ikolo community in Igbo-Etiti Local Government Area of Enugu State on Monday.
A source from the community said that youths from neighbouring Aku community invaded the community at about 2 am with dangerous weapons including guns, machetes and petrol bombs and set many buildings ablaze while the people were asleep.
The members of the community who appeared helpless have appealed to the Enugu State Government to intervene in the face of the unprovoked carnage.
Some of the placards displayed by protesting women of the community read: “Is Aku more than Enugu State Government?;” “Enugu Government, save Ikolo from Ogbons Idike;” “Save our soul, our houses are burnt by Ogbons Idike;” and “Save us from Aku people.”
The leader of the protesters, Mrs Florence Ekwueme, said many women in the community have been rendered homeless by the invaders.
She added that the government should urgently intervene to save the community.
“Why we are crying is that we were sleeping in our houses around 1am and 2am, and we were hearing gunshots.
“When we woke up, we noticed that our buildings had been burnt down. We are calling on the government to come to the aid of our people.
“We are a small community and we don’t have people. They always attack us, beat up our youths and lock them up at the police station. The certificates of our graduates have been burnt. We are calling on the state government to help us.”
The traditional ruler of Ikolo community, Gabriel Ezugwu, said the community had been locked in a long-standing land dispute which the state government has failed to resolve.
He said every November, his people experience severe attacks from Aku people, and accused a certain politician (name withheld) of being the brain behind the attacks.
“This has been happening before. It has been a constant attack. Every November, they come to attack us.
“It is sad that all these things are happening, but the police have not made any arrests.”
The traditional ruler further alleged that “instead of arresting Aku people who are the aggressors, they will turn around and arrest our people.
“I called the neighbourhood watch and they were able to repel the attack.
“But, before then, 12 houses were burnt down, while five houses were completely destroyed.
“This is a land issue. I have called the boundary committee to come and share the land, but they have not done that.
“We have not lost any life, but Ikolo people are suffering. They should come and share this land, so that we will have peace.”