Director, Legal services, Ishinkwo Autonomous Community, Ebonyi State, Innocent Elum, has refuted reports that Ishinkwo community attacked and killed some Ukawu indigenes at a beach where they went to fetch sand.
He said the story was a sponsored misrepresentation of the facts of the incident and a failed attempt by Abaomege Community to bring Ishinkwo and her sister Ukawu community on a collusion course.
In a statement, yesterday, he said Ishinkwo, Ukawu and Abaomege communities were in Onicha council of Ebonyi State, with Ishinkwo and Abaomege locked in a land dispute spanning over a century.
“This is no longer news. The dispute started in 1902 and has defied all approaches to make peace between the communities. Several lives and property worth several millions of naira have been claimed by the intermittent bloody hostilities that characterised the disagreement,” he said, stressing that the Ebonyi State government of Dave Umahi is currently on top of the situation, raising hopes that the matter may soon end.
“The truth of what happened on Monday is Abaomege took Ishinkwo people by surprise and invaded the community in the wee hours. The beach in question is located at the Ishinkwo flank of the Ebonyi River bordering it and Akpoha, many miles away from Abaomege.
“It was reported that they had laid ambush against the Ishinkwo people who are daily at the beach fetching sand. Seven persons from Ishinkwo were reported missing at the end of the massive shooting.
“It should be noted that Ishinkwo community was carved out of Ukawu and both communities have remained in a harmonious and cordial relationship that has celebrated many inter- community marriages and political cooperation. As a matter of fact, both communities still share a political Ward named Ishinkwo-Ukawu Ward. There is no problem whatsoever between them.”
He said the report in some media was one in a series of Abaomege’s antics to incite Ukawu against Ishinkwo.
He urged Governor Umahi to kindly speed up the process of demarcating the disputed pieces of land to bring lasting peace between the warring communities.