Gov. Obiano Imposes Curfew On Communities As Lives, Property Reported Lost In Land Dispute

The fragile peace between Aguleri and Umueri, two communities in Anambra  East Local Government Area of Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria, was on Saturday interrupted by a clash between youths of both communities in a boundary dispute.

The Aguleri and Umueri war got national attention in the late 1990s when the people disputed over their boundary between 1998 and 1999 but the matter remained largely unresolved.

At the peak of the crisis, lives and property were lost as the parties deployed heavy weaponry freely against each other and forced the Federal Government to intervene to calm the situation.

Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra State is an indigene of Aguleri.

A source said an uncertain number of lives were lost in the renewed clash on Saturday during which dangerous weapons, including guns, were freely used by both parties.

The source said property, including houses, cars and motorcycles, were also razed during the fight.

Some narrative had it that Umueri youth who were furious over the alleged annexation of their land had spoiled for the battle as early as 6:30 am on Saturday.

Another story was that the communities were in a peace meeting over the matter during which order broke down and a fight erupted.

Meanwhile, the state Governor, Obiano, has imposed a three-day curfew on Aguleri, Umueri and Umuoba Anam communities in a bid to stem violence in the area.

According to the governor, the curfew will last from 7 pm to 7 am daily with effect from Saturday.

He warned that violators of the curfew would be prosecuted.

Chief Sunday Udealor, the Chairman, Caretaker Committee, Umueri General Assembly, said he would not talk on the development as he was deep in the efforts to resolve the crisis.

“The matter is still on and we are on top of the situation trying to resolve it. I will speak to you as soon it normalises it,” Udealor said.

Hippo Onwuekpuke, the President General of Aguleri community, said efforts were being made to make the youth not to go on a reprisal following the death that was recorded.

Onwuekpuke said he was appealing to both groups to sheathe their swords.

Scene of Clash

But the Police  Command in Anambra State said no death was recorded in the clash and that the situation had been brought under control.

Haruna Mohammed, a Chief Superintendent of Police and Police Public Relations Officer,  in a statement, explained that the clash was over a disputed area of land which both communities were laying claim of ownership.

Mohammed said joint police teams made up of the Police Mobile Force, Rapid Response Squad and other conventional units were dispatched soon after a distress call was made and the situation was brought under control.

“Joint patrol is still ongoing to restore normalcy in the affected areas.

“Meanwhile, no loss of lives and injuries have been reported. However, one building, four vehicles and two motorcycles were set ablaze by the warring factions.

Combined operatives at the scene.

“Consequently, the Commissioner of Police, CP John Abang has directed the State Criminal Investigation Department, Awka, to carry out a discreet investigation in order to ascertain circumstances surrounding the incident and bring perpetrators to book.

“The CP also warned both parties to maintain peace and explore all legal avenues to resolve their grievances without resorting to violence.

“He further assured both parties that he would contact the state government to intervene in the matter in order to find a lasting solution to the lingering problem,” Mohammed said.

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