In retaliation killings between the Tiv of Benue State and the Ijiegu-Yache of Cross River State’s Yala Local Government Area, five individuals were reportedly beheaded yesterday.
On Wednesday, the community’s Tiv chief, Chief Jacob Uswa, confirmed this and said that many more people have been injured.
He claims that when the Yache lads went to their farms to gather cassava, they beheaded theirs.
On Sunday, October 8, 2023, three of our lads were attacked and killed while working in their farms to gather cassava for fufu.
Two more people died at a different farm. They put on public display the severed heads for the Yache. He warned that the Yache youth were “hiding in the bushes” to ambush them.
Augustine Adula, a prominent young figure in the Ijiegu-Yache village, claimed that the locals were forced to resort to self-defense when the Tiv militia launched attacks on their fields.
He claimed that Tiv men would attack ladies and farmers when they were gathering crops from their fields.
Those Tiv colonists have been relentless in their attacks on us. They wear military camouflage when they assault our neighborhood and often ambush us from behind cover.
“Therefore, our boys have stopped their businesses and schools and have taken positions in the bushes to defend our land and people, so that they can block the Tivs when they come surreptitiously,” Adula added.
Adula claims that life has become extremely challenging for them as a result of the circumstances, and that markets and schools have not opened due to widespread anxiety about their safety.
The Tivs are blamed for the violence because they stopped paying land royalties after settling there. As a result, last month there were deaths on both sides and property damage.
However, the Tivs insist that they are more Cross River than Benue State natives because they have lived in the area for over a century.
The leaders of both communities have voiced their displeasure with the fact that the small number of security personnel, including troops, tasked with maintaining calm between the two sides are concentrated in and around the city, leaving the surrounding countryside vulnerable to renewed violence.
Earlier, Cross River State Deputy Governor Peter Odey and Benue State Deputy Governor Sam Ode visited the area and asked for a temporary halt to fighting so that peace could be achieved.
Irene Ugbo, a spokesperson for the police, claimed that no official report on the recent killings had been received.