From George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
Panic and anxiety have enveloped the entire community of Umuanum Ohekelem in Ngor Okpala council and Ogbor Uvuru in Aboh Mbaise council as the two neighboring communities engage in a gun battle over boundary dispute.
It was reliably gathered that trouble started when youths of Ogbor Uvuru in Aboh Mbaise allegedly invaded Umuanum Ohekelem Community on Monday destroying houses and properties of residents of the community.
According to one of the residents of the area who spoke to our correspondent under the condition of anonymity
He said : ” On the early hours of Monday, 20th June 2022, armed young men from Ogbor Uvuru Aboh Mbaise, came in their numbers, well armed, invaded a village in our community, Umuanum. They attacked our people with dangerous weapons, destroyed many houses, properties and forcefully harvested cassava in our farms and carted away with them.
we made an official complaint to the Area Command at Uvuru Mbaise. It was later that we realized that the invasion and attack was as a result of the boundary dispute between Umuanum Ohekelem and Ogbor Uvuru”.
Continuing , “To our greatest dismay, seven days later, precisely on 27th June 2022, they came again with full force destroying more houses, shooting indiscriminately where many people sustained heavy injuries. It was at that point we contacted the Area Commander , Mohammad Umar Iya who came to the scene of the incident. Right in his presence, the people were still destroying more properties and shooting sporadically.
The Area Commander couldn’t do anything. Then people started scampering for safety while many of our youths were shot. They are lying critically in the hospital as a result of the gunshot. The Community has been deserted. It was at that point we suspected a fowl play on the side of the Police”.
Meanwhile, Umuanum Community has accused the Area Commander of compromise and call on the state government to intervene in the matter.
However, it took the combined efforts of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matters and the officers of the Nigerian naval base Owerrinta to calm the situation. Residents of the two communities are appealing to the government to intervene into the situation by ensuring that a proper demarcation and delineation of the disputed boundary of the two neighboring communities is effected to avoid further shed of blood.
When contacted, the spokesman of the state command Michael Abbattam who confirmed the incident and said that the Area Commander and Divisional Police Officer Umuneke are working assiduously to ensure that peace is restored in the area.
Also, when contacted, the traditional ruler of the Ohekelem community, Eze Emmanuel Okere confirmed the incident and called on the state Government to immediately come for the demarcation and delineation of the disputed boundary of the two communities, while effort made to reach the traditional ruler of Ogbor Uvuru Community, Eze Adiukuru proved abortive as he was unable to pick all the several calls that were put across to him as at the time of filing this report.
However, there is fear that Ogbor people may launch another attack on Umuanum Town any moment.
It was gathered that the boundary dispute between the two neighboring communities has lingered for a very long period of time leading to loss of lives and properties.