persons have been reportedly killed in a communal clash between Okwabang and Beebo communities of Boki East, in Boki Local Government Area of Cross River State.
While two persons were killed on Friday, one each from both communities, nine Okuabang natives were hacked to death yesterday morning by Beebo guerrillas.
Okwabang and Beebo communities, with vast amounts of the state’s rainforest reserve, have been engaged in an age-long land dispute, leading to destruction of life and property, in spite of repeated peace moves.
Investigations by Daily Sun revealed that the recent clash was sparked by suspicions that the Beebo community was harvesting commodities at a farm allegedly belonging to an Okwabang man.
It was learnt that, following the suspicion, a youth leader from Okwabang, simply identified as Monjok, with his team on surveillance, accosted a group of Beebo people harvesting illegally from his farm and then a disagreement ensued, leading to a shootout and, subsequently, the killing of one Beebo indigene.
A witness, who gave his name as Johnson Abang, from Okwabang, said: “We have always disagreed over land matters for decades. But the recent tension rose following suspicions that the Beebo community was harvesting commodities at a farm belonging to an Okwabang man.
“This got to a climax on Thursday last week when an Okwabang man accosted a group of Beebo aborigines harvesting from his farm. There and then, fighting broke out and later open shooting, which led to killing of one Beebo native. The Okwabang man ran to the community and reported himself. The community then took him to the Bateriko Police Station and he was kept in custody.”
On getting wind that one Beebo native had been killed, the youths of Beebo community launched a reprisal attack on Okwabang community.