A renewed boundary clash between the Yache-Ijiegu community in Yala LGA of Cross River State and Tiv settlers from Benue State has left at least 20 people feared dead, with women and children among the casualties. Reports indicate that many individuals have sustained injuries from gunshots and machete cuts. Numerous houses on both sides of the conflict have been set on fire.
The violence reignited when a Yache resident, Ayeku Godwin Ochuole, was allegedly attacked and killed on his farm by Tiv assailants, leading to the abduction and injury of at least nine other individuals.
This conflict, which began about two months ago, reportedly started due to a disagreement over the payment of royalties by the Tiv settlers to the Yache natives for their stay on Yache lands.
The Tiv settlers, who have resided in the area for over 100 years and claim Cross River State as their home, allege that the Yache community has been launching surprise attacks on them from the bushes, resulting in casualties among their own people. They contend that they have complied with demands to pay royalties but have been subject to attacks by Yache locals.
Mr. Jacob Uswa, a Tiv leader, stated: “We can’t fold our arms and watch them continue to exterminate our people. We have to defend ourselves. They usually hide in the bushes to launch attacks. This is also our land. We are also from Cross River State.”
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Lieutenant Alex, a security team commander, lamented the situation, saying: “Yache boys constantly indulge in attacks. The Tivs have listened to us by restraining. They killed one of my men yesterday, and I had to frown at it. Yache cannot withstand the Tivs.”