Bassey Inyang in Calabar
An estimated 200 families have been displaced at Mbiabong Ito, Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State as a result of the alleged invasion of the community by Fulani herdsmen.
Information gathered from the area which is about 100 kilometres from Calabar indicated that Fulani herders in their scores invaded farmlands in the community, Tuesday night from Arochukwu axis of Abia State, leading to a violent confrontation between them and the local population.
A source who refused to be quoted stated that the invading Fulani who entered the community with their cattle, opened gun fire on the locals who made to prevent the grazing animals from destroying their farms.
Sources from the community said following the ensuing clash, many casualties have been recorded, but could not provide the exact number of the dead or the injured.
However, they stated that many families, numbering about 200 have been displaced due to the fighting which was said to be ongoing as of yesterday afternoon.
“The problem commenced last night at about 9p.m. when the community people noticed that Fulani men had invaded their farmlands with cows, and were destroying their crops. When they went to chase the Fulani away from their farms the owners of the cows shot at them.
As I am talking to you, there is still fighting going on with the youths, young men of the community. Women and children have all left to the neighbouring communities. There are some casualties, and our community has been invaded by the Fulani herdsmen and their cows,” a source from the community said.
Another source claimed that after the fighting ensued, some men in military uniform have been sighted in the community, allegedly lending some support to the Fulani herdsmen. However, the information could not be verified by THISDAY.
The police authorities in the state have confirmed the clash, but said no death was recorded on both sides.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Irene Ugbo, said a strong police contingent hadbeen deployed to restore normalcy to the area.
Ugbo said, so far, no casualty has been reported to the police, and that the latest information from their men on ground indicates that the situation has been brought to normal.