BREAKING: Many Causalities As Benue Communities Clash, Burn Down Several Houses
One person has reportedly been killed and communities razed down following a bloody clash between youths of Ojantele, Otobi of Otukpo and Ijegun of Obi Local Government Areas of Benue State, North Central Nigeria.
Although the causality could be higher, community sources told SaharaReporters that one person had died so far and so many other people sustaining varying degrees of injury with several houses burnt down in both sides.
Gabriel Okpoko, who is vying for the State House of Assembly constituency in the area told SaharaReporters that the incident stated on Saturday but climaxed on Tuesday when the Otukpo people invaded Ijegwu and burnt down the community.
Trouble according him had started when some youths of Ijegwu in Obi LGA had on Monday engaged in a free-for-all with their counterparts in Otukpo over disconnection of power supply to the Obi local government area.
Okpoko said, “The situation here is getting out of hand. It is this boundary between Obi local government and Otukpo. There is a place that electricity connection for the communities is located and that was what brought the problem between the two communities.
“According to them, there is a place where they used to switch off power supply close to Ijegun. And the story we heard is that the Idoma people in the neighbouring community went and switched off the electricity supply to the entire Ijegun and Obi local government. For the past one week, there hasn’t been power supply to the entire Igede tribe. The Otukpo people went and switched off the supply.
“I spoke with the incumbent House of Assembly member and he told me that when he was the Chairman of the local government he had treated the matter and resolved it. He said that electricity connection to the Obi LGA came from Otukpo area and sometimes some boys from Otukpo would cut power supply to entire two local governments.”
“According to some people, in the process of fighting around the switching point, the Idoma people shot dead one Igede guy and wounded others. Thereafter, the Igede people mobilised and went back but the Ijegun people ran away and they now burnt down Idoma community but no causality was recorded.
“After the incident the government deployed soldiers and police to arrest the situation. Believing that nothing will happen again and that there will be peace negotiations, this morning (Tuesday) the soldiers that were deployed left the place with the police giving room for Idoma boys to regroup, come and attack Ijegun people. They just razed the community now, they the mobilisation was huge. Now the fire is still raging, they are fighting. From the look of things the security agencies – police and military are accomplices.”
When contacted, the Regional Manager of Jos Electricity Distribution in Otukpo, Olaniyi Ogunmakinya, said he was not aware of any casualty as he confirmed a clash between youths from the two LGAs.
He said, “What actually happened is that there is what is called Isolators which we used to segment our network if there are problems in some areas we used it to isolate those areas and allow others to have electricity supply while we work on the areas that have a problem.
“I have that isolated toward the end of Otukpo LGA linking Obi. And when it rained a few days ago and we had our lines destroyed, we had to isolate the affected areas to enable us to work on the lines.
“But whenever we do this to repair the lines the people on the Obi LGA side will not be happy that we are isolating them to repair the line, they would prefer that everyone is denied power supply instead of isolating them alone before the repairs. It was the attempt to sabotage our isolator that was resisted by the youths of Otukpo.”