Soldier’s Killers Elude Capture; Community on Edge

Cross River state map

Tension pervades the Yache-Ijiegu community in the Yala Local Government Area of Cross River State, as the deadline set by the military for the surrender of two individuals accused of killing a soldier has elapsed.

Residents of the community are living in a state of fear, grappling with the pressure from the military demanding the apprehension of the alleged perpetrators responsible for the soldier’s death two weeks ago.

Augustine Adula, a local youth leader, expressed the community’s anxiety, stating that despite their efforts, the elusive suspects have not been located. He disclosed the community’s anguish over the loss of numerous young men since the resurgence of clashes in July 2023, with some succumbing to gunshot injuries.

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Adula further revealed that the military had taken one youth into custody and shut down the “Life First Clinic,” a medical facility where the detainee was receiving treatment. Although soldiers have interrogated several individuals, their insistence on the identification of the specific two boys adds to the community’s distress.

As the deadline expired, Adula voiced the community’s vulnerability, anticipating a potential military attack. Senator Stephen Odey, the education commissioner and a native of the community, affirmed his extensive dialogue with military authorities to achieve a peaceful resolution to the crisis. He mentioned that the Governors of Benue and Cross River States would address the escalating situation between the Tivs and Yache-Ijiegu to restore peace.

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A visit to the community revealed a mass exodus of youths, who had fled in anticipation of a military intervention. Lt Hassan, an army officer stationed in Yache, explained that their mission was to restore peace between the two communities, emphasizing that the youths had instigated the conflict by attacking and killing military personnel.