In what will come across as a really startling development, as many as five persons have reportedly been beheaded in Cross River.
They were killed and beheaded as reprisal killings resumed yesterday between the Tiv people of Benue State and the Ijiegu-Yache of the Yala Local Government Area of Cross River State.
Chief Jacob Uswa, Tiv leader in the community, confirmed this on Wednesday, adding that many others have been maimed.
According to him, the Yache boys beheaded theirs when they went to their farms to harvest cassava.
“On Sunday 8th October 2023, they attacked and beheaded three of our boys in their farms where they had gone to harvest cassava for fufu.
“Two others were also killed in another farm. They displayed the heads before their Yache people. The Yache boys are all over the bushes to attack us,” he said.
Augustine Adula, a youth leader in Ijiegu-Yache community, said they had to defend themselves when the Tiv militia unleashed attacks against them on their farms.
He alleged that the Tiv boys go to their farms to harvest their farm yields and attack their women and farmers.
“We have suffered incessant attacks from those Tiv settlers. They invade our community wearing military camouflages and some times they would take us by surprise through the bushes to attack us.
“As a result, our boys have stopped their businesses and schools and have taken positions in the bushes to defend our land and people, so that they can block the Tivs when they come surreptitiously,” Adula said.
According to Adula, the situation has made life very difficult for them, adding that markets and schools have not opened due to deep seated fears for their lives.
The cause of the hostilities is said to be refusal by the Tivs to continue to pay royalties on the land they settled in. This led to killings and destruction of houses on both sides last month.
But the Tivs have claimed that having settled in the community for over 100 years, they are more of Cross River than Benue State indigenes.
Both community leaders have expressed unhappiness that the numbers of security men, including soldiers sent to keep the peace between them are very few and are mostly in the town, leaving the hinterlands very porous for the killings to persist.
Earlier, the two deputy governors of both states, Peter Odey and Sam Ode of Cross River and Benue States, respectively, visited the community and appealed for cessation of hostilities while they worked towards peace.
Police PRO, Irene Ugbo said they had not received a formal report about the latest killings.