A three-month-old baby and seven others have been confirmed killed following a renewed communal conflict in Nigeria’s southern state of Ebonyi, according to local police on Tuesday.
Sparked by a dispute over land boundaries, hostilities between Ndiagu-Alike and Enyibichiri, two warring communities in the state, began afresh on Saturday when a vehicle belonging to members of one of the communities was seen burning with its occupants.
The area has a decades-long history of violence between ethnic groups competing for land. All previous attempts to settle the dispute by state authorities have proved abortive over the years.
Ebonyi police spokeswoman Loveth Odah told Xinhua that the three-month-old baby and five others were burned to death by attackers from one of the communities.
According to her, the victims were travelling in a vehicle when the attackers stopped them and set them ablaze.
This infuriated members of the other community who also took up their arms and shot dead two persons in a retaliatory attack.
The conflict continued for some hours, as residents of the two communities blocked the main Ndufu Alike road, amid heavy shooting, Odah said.
The police have now quelled the crisis, Odah told Xinhua.
Increasing communal clashes in local areas in Nigeria are usually caused but not limited to prevailing disputes such as land disputes, ethnic intolerance, cultural or religious extremism.
Persistent anomalies, inconsistencies in service delivery performance have also been responsible for the conflicts over the years.
Such age-old conflicts in the country have taken on a new level of brutality.
In June 2018, a retaliatory attack over a land dispute in the central state of Plateau led to the killing of at least 86 people. Enditem