Four feared dead as youths clash over logging in Cross River

A Nigerian police officer holds a bunch of handcuffs in Abuja on October 3, 2020. Sodiq Adelakun-Channels TV

A number of youths are reported to have been killed Thursday evening in a clash between Biajua community in Boki LGA and Abia comnunity in Etung LGA of Cross River State.

The skirmish, which had brewed over time, finally erupted in full scale Thursday night when members of the two neighbouring communities took up arms against each other.

The fight is said to be continuing as at time of filing this report even though the police have reportedly arrested six persons in connection with the clash.

At least, four persons were reported to have died in the communal clash.

Findings indicated that the clash is alleged to be the resistance of Biajua community against sustained wood logging in Biajua by timber dealers from Abia.

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Our source said that some of the loggers were allegedly arrested and handed to the police at Bateriko police station.

Armed youths from Abia community in Etung LGA, believed to have invaded the Biajua forests, are said to have been engaged in sporadic shooting in the area to scare the Biajua youths to enable them evacuate their harvests of wood.

Confirming the incident, a community leader in nearby Danare community in Boki LGA and a former Vice chairman of APC for Cross River central, Chief Cletus Obun, said, “We request for urgent intervention to avoid more casualties.”

The State security adviser, Alfred Mboto, said they have reports about the incident and have deployed security personnel to the scene.

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He however said he has not been well briefed about the killings.

In a petition to chairman of Boki LGA and signed by clan head of Bashua, HRH Otu Michael Owen Bedebe and community chairman, Mr David Ochang Bedding, they accused the Abia community of Etung LGA of engaging in illegal exploitation of their forests resources.

They claimed that the Abia people came in two trucks armed with dangerous weapons and attacked them.

Chief K.T. Kekung Asu & Co, legal advisers to Bashua community appealed to Abia royal father to call his subjects to order to avert further bloodletting.

The village head of Abia denied that they were the aggressors.

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