By Ike Uchechukwu
NO fewer than 200 families have fled their homes at Mbiabong Ito community, in Ito South clan, Odukpani Local Government Area, Cross River State, following the invasion of the community by herdsmen.
Vanguard learned that the herdsmen, who drove a large herd of cows into the community’s farmlands, were believed to have forcefully resisted attempts by the villagers to deny them access to land for grazing.
An indigene, Effiong Asuquo, told Vanguard that as gunshots rent the air, late Tuesday evening, the villagers had to run into the bush when it became apparent that the herdsmen had more sophisticated weapons.
“We had to hide inside the bush because the kind of guns the herdsmen were carrying were too sophisticated. To stay alive we had to scamper for safety and the best place was the bush,” he said.
A police source, who confirmed the incident, said it was quite unfortunate because a lot of people were injured in the process of running to safety.
His words: You have to understand that it will take a while before I can authoritatively give you accurate information on the number of casualties and current situation in the area. Getting to the area is a challenge as you will have to either travel to Akwa Ibom first before linking up the place through the river in Itu.”
When contacted, police Public Relations Officer in the state, ASP Irene Ugbo confirmed the incident and said they were on top of the situation.
“ We are aware of the matter and we are on top of the situation because there is no cause for alarm. No casualties have been recorded to the best of my knowledge and our men are already on ground as we speak,” she said.