Army storms Cross River community, arrests dozens of youths including those receiving treatment in hospital over death of soldier on peace mission
A report that the Nigerian Army has arrested youths in Yache-Ijiegu community in Yala Local Council of Cross River State, over alleged killing of a soldier during recent communal clash with some Tiv settlers.
Recall that the Yache-Ijiegu community and their neighbouring Benue State settlers have been in war for alleged non-payment of land royalty. According to The Guardian gathered that the recent clash claimed about 20 lives on both sides, a number of houses were torched, while a soldier was reportedly killed.
Pique by this development, commanders of Peace Keeping Task Force, sent to return normalcy in Yache-Ijiegu community, have arrested a number of youth leaders over the alleged killing of the soldier during the clash between them and Tiv settlers.
Sources said the soldiers stormed the community and arrested some youths, including those receiving treatment in hospital as a result of gunshot injuries, for interrogation.
According to a source, the soldiers were angered over the loss of their colleague.It was gathered that the angry soldiers had on Wednesday invited both sides to a peace meeting, but Tiv people allegedly refused to attend.
“The Tivs said they were not attending the meeting, until our people that went returned. The soldiers were not happy about that.
“But soldiers from Benue State 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 last weekend, battle were being treated.
“At the hospital, they also took away one of our boys that suffered gunshot injuries.
“The soldiers demanded information on all the boys that went to the bush to attack the Tivs, which resulted in the accidental death of the said soldier.
“It took the intervention of a commissioner in the state, an indigene of Yache-Ijiegu, Senator Stephen Odey, who pleaded with the Commander in charge of Ogoja Barracks for a peaceful resolution to avoid attack on the people by the angry soldiers,” the source added.
Despite the intervention, there is still fear in the community as the Tiv settlers are allegedly mobilising for another attack.
Responding on phone, one Lt Hassan, who led the arrest, said: “I don’t know what you are talking about.” But one of the Commandants stationed in Yache-Ijiegu side, identified simply Lt Alex, had earlier confirmed the killing and the arrest. He said: “We were sent here to keep the peace but the people keep inciting and launching attacks, to the extent of killing our soldier.”