They are reports of high casualty figure and wanton destruction in the mayhem that engulfed Igbo-Eze Local Government Area of Enugu State, on Thursday. About 10 houses were razed while scores injured following clashes between rival groups clashed over boundary delineation. Normalcy returned to the troubled council with the intervention of soldiers from the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army.
The remote cause of the violence is the agitation by some indigenes whether to remain as part of Enugu State or be merged with Kogi State, while the immediate cause was an attack on the leader of an opposing group.
Police sources, who confirmed the clash, said what, triggered the clash on Thursday was when the group, who wanted to be merged with Kogi State spotted and attacked a youth leader opposing their move and even burnt his house.
A Police source at Enugu Ezike, the headquarters of the Local Council confirmed the incident and said ‘‘The group attacked and shot the youth leader of those in favour of remaining in Enugu four times, although the youth leader, Mr. Matthias Eje, survived the attack, he sustained several bullet wounds from the four shots, while his house was also burnt.’’
It was alleged that those in favour of remaining in Enugu State later re-grouped and launched a reprisal attack by burning some of the houses of their alleged attackers before the deployment of soldiers. A prominent indigene of Ette, who craved anonymity, said before the attack, “The pro-Enugu youths of Ette had successfully repelled the invading pro-Kogi armed youths four times in the past few weeks.
“Those attacks had in the past one year escalated to such a level that those in favour of ceding the large area from Enugu to Kogi had forced a Catholic Church Parish to close down, while most government establishments in the area now barely exist.”