There is palpable tension in Ayamelum local government area of Anambra State following alleged invasion of Ogboachala farmland at Amikwe Omor by suspected youths from Anaku town over unresolved farmland dispute.
The armed youths, numbering over 20, who reportedly stormed the farmland around 8:20am last Sunday, allegedly opened fire on rice farmers in the area.
Similar attack had taken place in the area which reportedly left many dead and property worth over N1billion destroyed in Anaku and Omor communities during a 3-day hostility.
A rice farmer from Omor, Mr Okwudili Chukwuemeka, who witnessed the attack told newsmen that the suspects shot sporadically on farmers, forcing them to scamper for safety.
“I was in my rice farm spreading chemicals when they opened fire on us. I screamed as I ran for my dear life. Thank God I escaped without any injury”, he said.
Another farmer, Mr Avuluiveekwulu Obiorah who said he was irrigating his rice farm when the attackers stormed the area, said the incident came to him as surprise.
“I had thought efforts were on top gear to resolve the crisis but I was shocked when I heard gun shots and saw Omor farmers running out of their farms. As we ran, we heard them chanting war songs in the farm at the top of their voices”, he said.
Although no casualty was recorded during the attack, it was however learnt that the attackers were forced to flee on sighting military operatives on peacekeeping mission in the area who drove to the scene following alert.
Recounting previous attack in the area, spokesperson for Omor town on the visit of Ayamelum Leaders of Thoughts, Hon Udoji Amaedu, said trouble ensued following the blocking of federal road leading to Ayamelum local government by Anaku youths.
He alleged abduction and murder of Chief James Nzekwesi, Mr. Chukwutoo Onyeagolu, Mr. Emmanuel Raymond and others, all from Omor who were yet to be seen or heard from.
“It was along this same road that the youths attacked the former Chief Judge of Anambra, Hon Justice P.A.C Obidigwe, stole his phones and gave him machete cuts”, he claimed, adding that the killings of Omor indigenes by Anaku people had been an age-long occurrence.
Reacting on the recent attack by Anaku people, Local Government chairman, Hon. Barr B.A. Onyeabo, said he got the information and quickly initiated move to avert further faceoff between the two neighboring communities.
“We thank God that the matter was well handled by the timely intervention of the military officers on ground”, he added.
The youth leader of Omor Town, Mr Peter Onyinkalu Ananti condemned what he called provocative action of their neighbors who resort to carrying out regular attacks or abduction of his people amidst ongoing peace initiatives.
He appealed to security agencies operating in the area to tighten up security to avoid further attacks.
Speaking on behalf of Anaku, a youth leader in the area who preferred anonymity, said, “last Sunday’s attack was reprisal of what Omor people did to our women earlier.”
When contacted, Police spokesperson, Tochukwu Ikenga said he was yet to be briefed on the development.
“I don’t have details on any such incident please,” he said.