Tuesday, May 20, 2014 9:12 pm
Owerri – There was pandemonium at the Umuapu Junction on the Owerri-Port Harcourt road on Tuesday following a clash between the youths of Umuapu community and their counterparts from Obitti.
An eyewitness also told newsmen that three persons were feared dead while many were injured in the bloody clash in the Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area in Imo.
Among those who allegedly lost their lives were two youths from Umuapu and one from Obitti, according to an eyewitness.
Trouble was said to have started when youths of Obitti allegedly gathered at Umuapu Junction to dismantle the road block mounted by the youths of Umuapu to stop traders from accessing the popular Orie Obitti Market.
According to the eyewitness, the youths of the two communities had been at daggers drawn until it eventually snowballed into the bloody clash.
It was gathered that youths of Umuapu had insisted that commercial motorcyclists from Obitti who operate their business at Umuapu Junction pay some money known as ‘marching ground’ to be allowed to operate.
The Obitti youths, on the other hand, refused to yield to the demand, leading to a strained relationship between the neighbouring communities.
When contacted, the Imo Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Andrew Enwerem, confirmed the report but said he had no knowledge of any loss of lives.
Enwerem, however, said the police had restored calm in the area.
He assured the people that the police would commence investigation into the clash, saying that no arrests had been made.
The traditional ruler of Obitti Autonomous Community, Eze Clifford Chibuzor, also confirmed the clash.
He said he had earlier warned his youths to resist the temptation of confronting their Umuapu neighbours in spite of recurrent provocations.
Chibuzor said he had sent emissaries to the traditional ruler of Umuapu, Eze Boniface Ihueze, with a view to finding a lasting and amicable solution to the conflict. (NAN)