From: Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
At least six persons were feared dead and several houses burnt on Sunday in a renewed communal crisis between Bonta community in Konshisha and Ukpute community in Oju Local Government Areas of Benue State.
Peoplesdaily learnt that villagers of the conflicting areas had last week Tuesday, deserted their homes following renewed fighting over land dispute.
It was also, gathered that the fresh crisis in the affected communities of the two(2) bordering local government areas began after a farmer from one of the border villages went to work on a disputed piece of land which had been deliberately left fallow to avert crisis between Ukpute- Ainu, an Igede speaking community in Oju local government area and Bonta village in Tiv speaking Konshisha local government area.
Eye witnesses said that the move by the farmer was resisted by opposing villagers, a development which degenerated to verbal exchange and sporadic gunshots in the communities affected.
Our correspondent further gathered that the latest crisis at the weekend occured after a peace meeting held on Saturday between the warring villagers.
Traditional Head of Konshisha, Ter Kyor, Thomas Jamgbinde told newsmen on phone that it was regrettable and unfortunate that the incident happened again while peace was being brokered between the parties involved.
Jamgbinde added that he had contacted the district head of the affected area and reported the matter to Tor Tiv Orchivirigh Prof. James Ayatse who directed that the perpetrators of the dastardly act be fished out and made to face the full weight.
On the other hand, the President of Igede National Youths Council, Comrade Andyson Egbodo, alleged that on the Oju side, six persons were killed and several houses burnt during the crisis.
Egbodo further told our correspondent on phone that the number could be more when he gets additional information.
Police Spokesperson in the state, DSP Catherine Anene, confirmed that there were renewed crisis in the areas, maintaining that the police immediately brought it under control.
Anene however said she is unaware of any death(s) during the crisis.