NIGERIA: Residents flee home as herdsmen invade Cross River community

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Suspected Fulani Herdsmen has reportedly sent away 300 residence of Ito community in Ito-South clan of Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State, Nigeria following inversion of the Community on Tuesday.

According to report, the Herders, in the noon of Wednesday invaded the community in a large number of cows, was resisted by farmers in the Village.

The herdsmen were said to have entered the community from Arochukwu, a town located at the southern end of Abia State.

As at the time of making up this story no casualty is officially confirmed to newsmen, still there is fear of casualties.

There are fears that there might have been some casualties, but the Police source could not confirm it.

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Eyo Edet, One of the victims told newsmen, said his kinsmen abandoned their homes and took refuge in the bushes around when the herdsmen started shooting into the air.

“I got a call from my relative in Mbiabong Ito that Fulani herdsmen have invaded the community with their cows. She said over 300 villagers are in the bush because of the fear of the herdsmen.

“My relative told me that herdsmen came with a large number of cows and wanted the cows to feed on the farmlands, but when the villagers resisted, the herdsmen brought out guns.

“She said there were numerous gunshots and the villagers had to take to the bush when it became obvious that the suspected herdsmen had more sophisticated weapons,” Edet revealed.

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It was not clear as at the time of filing this report if the fleeing villagers had returned to their homes, but another source said it was unlikely, as the Police had yet to arrive.

“They cannot go back because the Police had yet to come to their rescue as at 1 pm on Wednesday,” the source said.

A senior policeman in the Odukpani Police Division, who craved anonymity because he was not authorised to speak, said Police found it difficult to access the community on Tuesday because of the rough terrain.

“We got the information early Wednesday morning. You should understand that it will take a while before we can authoritatively give you information on the situation in the area.

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“To get to the area is a challenge, as we would have to either travel to Akwa Ibom State before diverting to the village or go through the river in Itu,” he said.

The Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Irene Ugbo, later confirmed the development, saying riot policemen have been drafted to maintain peace in the troubled community.

“The situation is confirmed. We are not sure if there are casualties for now, but I can confirm that we have just deployed our men to maintain peace in the community.

“I will still try to get more details,” He told reporters.

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