Fifteen persons are reported dead following a communal clash between Afono and Ibini communities in Biase local government area of Cross River state.
Besides, two adjoining villages have been sacked as houses and property worth hundreds of thousands of naira have been destroyed just as the villagers have fled to neighbouring communities.
For over decades running, several communities in Biase including Orugbam, Abanwan and Edor have been engaged an internecine war over who owns large expanse of plantation.
Two years ago, Orugbam and Abanwan communities fought war and destroyed villages and since then some villages around the area have taken sides either for or against Orugbam with Afono in support of Orugbam while Ibini is in support of Abanwan.
The outbreak of the latest hostilities was as a result of the blockade of the only village road connecting both Afono and Ibini communities.
Daily Sun gathered that youths from Afono blocked the road used by both for centuries thereby making it difficult for their neighbours (Ibini) to pass through to their village.
On getting wind that the road had been blocked and insisting that it must be opened for business, as usual, three youths from Ibini went and dismantled the blockade.
A witness, Joe Ogba 45, said while the youths were on their way back to Ibini on Monday afternoon, Afono youths ambushed them and shot two who died immediately while one escaped.
Ogba narrated that as the survivor got back and told the story, the Ibini people mobilised on the early hours of Tuesday and stormed Afono for reprisal attack.
The witness said: “In the process, three more people from Ibini died while about ten people from Afono were killed, bringing the total number of the dead to fifteen.
“As I am talking to you now, the Ibini youths have razed down Afono and one other community. There is no single soul there now. Even youths from Orugbam who went to support them have fled.”
Reacting, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Irene Ugbo, said: “It is not true. No person was killed. The only thing was that farms and some houses were destroyed.
“When we heard about the crisis, the Commissioner of Police, Uche Anozia, quickly sent police officers and MOPOL (Mobile Policemen) to the area. Very soon the Commissioner of Police and State Security Adviser will visit the place to meet with traditional rulers.”