From Tony Osauzo, Benin
One person identified as Pa William Amuawosa was reportedly killed while the Odionwere (eldest man), Pa Agidi Roland, is currently receiving treatment in an undisclosed hospital from injuries sustained during an alleged attack by Ijaws as the crisis between the Benins and Ijaws in Obazuwa community in Ovia North East local government area over a disputed area escalated last Saturday.
The area in dispute is called Iko by Benin while the Ijaws call it Ikoro.
A short video of the attack on Monday showed destroyed and burnt buildings, a vehicle and a carcass of animals that littered the area with a background voice saying it is part of Obazuwa community and that the attacks were carried out by Ijaw.
‘Look at what the Ijaw have done to us in Obazuwa, they say they are the owners of this land in Benin, we don’t know what we have done to them, they carried guns and came in through waterside and started shooting at people and scattered and destroyed houses and burnt them.
‘They have been disturbing us for a long time. We want the state government, the federal government to come to our rescue. They have pursued our people, including elderly ones out of their houses,’ the voice alleged.
But reacting to the incident, the chairman, Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Olodiama Clan, Samuel Ebiwana, denied the allegations even as he claimed that three members of the Ijaw community are missing.
‘This same Obazuwa people attacked policemen on duty, my community was also destroyed by these people. They beat up vigilantes that even helped the police and after that, they came back with their youths to chase our people down to the river.
‘We are not aware of what they are saying. We did not attack them; they are the people that attacked us. As I speak to you, three of our youths are still missing, we can’t find them and we are still searching for them,’ Ebiwana said.
When contacted for comment, the spokesman of the Edo State Police Command, Bello Kontongs, said he was yet to get a detailed briefing from the Divisional Police Officer in the area and so could not confirm the incident.
Meanwhile, the President, Benin Solidarity Movement (BSM), Curtis Ugbo, has condemned the attack on Benin people in the area and called on the Edo State Government and security agencies to immediately check the situation.