Residents displaced as herdsmen storm Cross River community with cows and guns

Gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen have invaded a community in Criss River, Punch News has reported.

Information gathered disclosed that more than 300 residents of Mbiabong Ito community in Ito – South clan of Odukpani Local Government Area have fled their homes to safety.

Sources say the herdsmen on Tuesday stormed the community with cows and started shooting into the air when the locals stopped them from gaining access into their farmlands.

At the time of this report, no casualty was reported by the police, but there are fears that some locals might lost their lives.

One Eyo Edet whose relative got displaced during the attack said his kinsmen abandoned their homes and took refuge in the bushes around when the herdsmen started shooting into the air.

He said his relative told him that at least 300 persons fled their homes when it became obvious that the herdsmen had sophisticated weapons and were bent on unleashing mayhem.

Edet said, “I got a call from my relative in Mbiabong Ito that Fulani herdsmen have invaded the community with their cows. She said over 300 villagers are in the bush because of the fear of the herdsmen.

“My relative told me that herdsmen came with a large number of cows and wanted the cows to feed on the farmlands, but when the villagers resisted, the herdsmen brought out guns.

“She said there were numerous gunshots and the villagers had to take to the bush when it became obvious that the suspected herdsmen had more sophisticated weapons.”

A police source at Odukpani Police Division, who spoke with Punch said the Police found it difficult to access the community on Tuesday because of the rough terrain.

The police source said: We got the information early Wednesday morning. You should understand that it will take a while before we can authoritatively give you information on the situation in the area.

“To get to the area is a challenge, as we would have to either travel to Akwa Ibom State before diverting to the village or go through the river in Itu.”

Meanwhile, the state Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Irene Ugbo, confirmed the development, saying riot policemen have been drafted to maintain peace in the troubled community.

“The situation is confirmed. We are not sure if there are casualties for now; but I can confirm that we have just deployed our men to maintain peace in the community.

“I will still try to get more details,” she said .

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