Tivs/Cross River communal clashes: Army calls off peace meeting, arrests youths over death of soldier


A number of youths from Yache-Ijiegu community of Yala LGA Cross River State were arrested Wednesday evening by soldiers attached to the security team sent to keep the peace following the lingering faceoff between them and Tiv settlers.

They were arrested for interrogation over the alleged killing of a soldier last weekend by Yache-Ijiegu boys during the communal war, which reportedly claimed 20 lives and destroyed houses.

Sources in the community said the soldiers have been infuriated over the loss of their colleague, which is why they cancelled a planned peace meeting between both aggrieved parties billed for Wednesday and resorted to arresting their young men.

One of the sources said, “The Tivs said they were not coming to attend the meeting, and our people that went returned.

“But soldiers from Benue visited our community and interrogated people. They forced some of our youth leaders to show them the hospital where our boys, who suffered gunshot injuries from the last weekend battle, were being treated.

“At the hospital, they also took away one of our boys who suffered gunshot injuries.”

According to reliable sources, the soldiers demanded that they need all the boys that went to the bush to attack the Tivs, which resulted in the accidental death of the said soldier.

It is learnt that one of the Yache boys treated for gunshot injuries in the hospital, told the soldiers that, the boy who mistakenly hot the soldier to death in the course of fighting the Tivs, was immediately shot and killed by the soldiers.

The sources disclosed that there is much apprehension in the community as the Tiv settlers are reported to be mobilising for another attack soon, and the soldiers have reportedly threatened them.

An indigene of Yache-Ijiegu community, Senator Stephen Odey, now a serving commissioner, has appealed to the commander in charge of Ogoja barracks for a peaceful resolution so that soldiers should not attack the community.

When asked over the phone, leader of the soldiers that conducted the arrest, one Lt Hassan said, “I dont know what you are talking about. Thank you.”

In an earlier phone interview, another commander whose team is stationed in Yache-Ijiegu side, Lt Alex, confirmed that a soldier was killed and that it was not pleasing.

“We were sent here to keep the peace but the people keep inciting and launching attacks, to the extent of killing our soldier.”

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