Reprisal killings have escalated between the Tiv people of Benue State and the Ijiegu-Yache of the Yala Local Government Area in Cross River State, resulting in the beheading of five individuals.
Chief Jacob Uswa, a Tiv leader in the community, confirmed the incidents, stating that the Yache boys attacked and beheaded three Tiv individuals who were harvesting cassava for fufu on October 8th, 2023. Two others were killed in a separate farm, and their heads were displayed before the Yache people. The ongoing conflict has led to widespread fear, with many people maimed and others forced to defend their land.
Augustine Adula, a youth leader in Ijiegu-Yache, claimed that the Tiv militia invaded their community, wearing military camouflages, and attacked their farmers and women. In response, the Yache community members have taken defensive positions in the bushes to protect their land from surprise attacks. The root cause of the hostilities is the Tivs’ refusal to pay royalties on the land they settled in, leading to a series of violent clashes last month.
Despite the presence of a few security personnel, including soldiers, sent to maintain peace, the killings continue due to the porous nature of the hinterlands. Both community leaders expressed dissatisfaction with the inadequate security measures in place.
Earlier, the deputy governors of Cross River and Benue States visited the community, appealing for an end to the violence and working towards a peaceful resolution. As of now, the police have not received a formal report on the recent killings.