Communal Clash Claims Two Lives In Bayelsa

Communal Clash Claims Two Lives In Bayelsa

communal clash between the Opolo and Okutukutu communities in Yenagoa local government area of Bayelsa State resulted in the deaths of two people.

According to sources, the Monday clash was a retaliation against Opolo indigenes after they allegedly attacked Okutukutu indigenes several years ago over a dispute about ancestral limits of their community land.

Trouble began when some Opolo natives traveled to the Okutukutu land and were attacked by their neighbors, who believed they were invading their territory.

It was learnt that the disputed property was challenged in court, but the Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of the Opolo village.

According to some Opolo indigenes, the conflict between the two communities was unnecessary as they had lived peacefully for many years even before the establishment of Bayelsa State.

The youth president of the Okutukutu community, Kester Wilcox, stated that it was the young people of the Opolo community who assaulted the Okutukutu community and began destroying property belonging to strangers before those property owners mobilized and fought back.

He urged the youths of Okutukutu and Opolo communities, as well as strangers living in both areas, to embrace peace because peace is essential for the  rapid growth of the communities.

He stated that there has always been a boundary dispute between the two towns, but he did not see why it should turn into a violent attack on innocent people

Spokesperson of the Bayelsa state police command confirmed the issue and stated that men from the command’s tactical squad had been dispatched to the conflict zones to restore peace and order.

The government of Bayelsa State has confirmed the land dispute and the tragic deaths caused by the violent attack.

In a statement released on Monday by his media assistant, Bayelsa State Deputy Governor Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo condemned the attack and instructed the appropriate security agencies to track down the culprits for prosecution.

He emphasized that the current administration will not tolerate people or groups resorting to violence and physical attacks over territorial or land boundary disputes, especially when such proceedings are pending in a competent jurisdictional court.

He encouraged the warring communities to draw their swords as the state government takes every necessary effort to address the situation, including an emergency meeting with the concerned communities’ leaders in his office by 3 p.m. on Tuesday, February 20, 2024.

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