No fewer than seven persons were feared dead in a bloody communal land conflict between Okwiji clan in Edikwu district and Ugbobi community in Apa local government area of Benue State.
However, Benue State Police Command disclosed that it recorded two deaths in the crisis.
The victims were killed in Okwiji by suspected militia allegedly hired by Ugbobi community over a disputed parcel of land said to be rich in oil deposit.
According to an eyewitness, crisis between the two communities which dated back several years was renewed recently after a middle aged man was murdered in Edikwu by armed militia from Ugbobi community.
“After the murder of the young man by armed mercenaries alleged to have been hired by Ugbobi people, till date no arrests were made, so the people resorted to taking the fight farther by storming the community with hired mercenaries in order to take over the community said to be rich in oil deposits.
“So early this morning (Sunday) they stormed Okwiji shooting sporadically at people who were going to church killing about seven persons and injuring others after which they razed several houses.
“As we speak we can still hear sporadic gunshots coming from Okwiji but we learnt that the police have made several arrests.
When contacted, Benue State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ene Okon confirmed the development but noted that the police recorded two deaths in the crisis.
Mr. Okon said, “we have recorded some arrests including the Village Head of Ugbobi community who allegedly masterminded the crisis and the killings.
“In the meantime we have beefed up security in the affected communities to forestall further breakdown of law and order in the area.”