April 3rd, 2013 – Kogi Vs Anambra State Land Dispute Killed 7, 52 Houses Burnt
At least 7 people were killed and over 52 more houses burnt in a bloody clash over disputed land between Enugu-Otu Aguleri in Anambra East Local Government Area of Anambra State and Ashonwo/Odeke in Ibaji Local Government of Kogi State. Confirming the incident to journalists yesterday, a community leader in Enugu-Otu Aguleri, Chief Anekwe Arinze alleged that the people of Ashonwo/Odeke invaded his community at about 1:30am when the residents had all gone to bed.
“We were sleeping; suddenly we started hearing gunshots everywhere and when some of us came out to know what was happening we saw our houses on fire. Our children and women who tried to escape were shot and many were wounded. We heard them saying the land belongs to us, you cannot take it. That was when we knew it was Kogi people. Some of our men who summoned the courage to pursue them away could not get them because when they noticed our prompt response, they ran away. Already we have counted seven corpses.” “They kidnapped three men. But we cannot fold our hands while they kill them. They must release them to us hale and hearty,” he said. However, the Transition Committee Chairman of Anambra East Council Area, Mr. Chinedu Obidigwe who could not confirm the number of casualties, lamented the level of destruction in the community by the people of Kogi State, adding that they took laws into their hands by not going to court to prove their case.
Obidigwe further urged both communities to exercise restraints since Anambra State Government had deployed soldiers to the areas to bring normalcy to the disputed land. However, a community leader in Odeke Ibaji Local Government Area, Kogi State who pleaded anonymity said the community leaders were not in support of those who carried out the attacks in Enugu-Otu Aguleri. “We are not in support of our men who attacked Enugu-Otu.
We are not involved. We are trying to make peace with Aguleri but our people out of impatience went to war without our consent. Government should please settle this problem for us so that we can live in peace. We are brothers and sisters. The land we met and shall leave behind should not bring problem between us. T
hey should not attack us,” he said. Meanwhile, all efforts to reach the Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Emeka Chukwuemeka proved abortive, as all calls put across to his mobile phones were not answered, while a police source who pleaded anonymity said there was no loss of life in the on-going crisis between the two communities.
[Report by EMMANUEL UZOR, Daily Sun]