* Wants perpetrators punished
From Steve Oko, Umuahia
A political pressure group known as Abia North Integrity Group (ANIG), has strongly condemned the attack on Isu community in Arochukwu Local Government Area by their neighbouring Ituma community of Cross River State.
Two locals in Isu were killed, and 10 declared missing in the early morning raid by Ituma community of Cross River State on Monday.
Both neighbouring communities have been engulfed in protracted communal clash folowing a land dispute linked to the discovery of lime stone in the area.
ANIG which is at the vanguard of power shift to Abia North come 2023 expressed rage over the attack and gruesome murder of unsuspecting Isu locals by the invaders, saying it was “unprovoked”.
Describing the attack as “barbaric and calamitous”, ANIG demanded the arrest and immediate prosecution of those behind it.
In a press statement signed by its Spokesman, Chief Idika Idika Kalu -Agwu, the group said it would no longer tolerate “the continuous and systematic organised killing carried out against the Isu communities of Arochukwu local government area”.
The group tasked security agencies in both states of Abia and Cross River to take more proactive actions and measures to prevent such barbaric incident “and bring these destardly acts to immediate end.”
ANIG wondered why both communities which had lived peacefully together as neighbours would suddenly turn into arch enemies because of discovery of mineral deposit which should rather be a blessing.
It also argued that both states enjoy “border line which extends over fifty killometer correcting across the communities of Arochukwu, Isu, Ututu and Ihechiowa” and wondered why less than four killometers of the border would become a warring zone.
The group maintained that “Abia North is peace loving”, adding that all five LGAs in the zone enjoy boundary access with Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ebonyi Enugu and Imo states respectively and wondered why Isu and Ituma communities should be an exception.
ANIG restated its commitment in promoting peaceful coexistence of all communities particularly the border towns in Abia North with their neighbours.
The group which reiterated its avowed committment in ensuring that power returned to Abia North in 2023 called for security to be beefed up around the border lines to prevent further occurrences.
It particularly called for the establishment of permanent military post at the disputed area and deployment of more police and army personnel around the Internally Displaced Persons, IDP camp in Isu community where victims of previous attacks are still squatting.