By Edeh Nwigwe
The Ezillo/Iyionu inter-communal clashes, which started in the early hours of Monday, 19th April, 2021, has claimed 3 human heads and 17 motorcycles by the irate youths spear-heading the crises.
In a telephone interview, a stakeholder from lyionu who preferred anonymity said that the cause of the clash was the communal interest of the Ezillo on a quarry industry established in their own land 6 years ago.
He stated that the factory has been operational since then but only to experience so many utterances and threats from their neighbouring brothers, Ezillo that the quarry was sited and situated in their (Ezillo) land.
He also said that their (Iyionu) area started a little after the Abazi bridge to Egu-onwenkiyi to Nwafor-Iyionu and Ogbagu areas and had never had crisis with their Ezillo brothers as the same Igbo-asa and Igbo-Ano in particular and wondered why Ezillo of late began to focus interest on one and the only project, the stone crushing industry in their own (Iyionu) territory.
He confirmed that in the early hours of Monday, the youths from Ezillo invaded their area with sporadic shootings which scared the inhabitants of the area and the factory workers before they were identified as Ezillo worriors.
He lamented that as Iyionu were not aware of the incident, it took them time to recollect and tried challenge them which was very hard for them as one of their people was later killed.
To that effect, the crisis continued on Tuesday in which two persons from Ezillo were killed.
He also stated that the motorcycles burnt by the attackers were of commercial motorcyclists who ply from Ezillo to lyionu, Azuinyaba, and Ezzagu and Ogboji communities and some travelers who ran into the crisis unknowingly.
He said that the security agencies intervene later in the day on Tuesday but could not arrest the situation as according to him, the clash was at about 4 kilos away from the federal high way and they could not penetrate but later contained the situation at the end of the 2nd day.
Also in an interview through phone, a stake-holder from Ezillo, who objected his name being in print for protective measure confirmed the incident but claimed that the portion of the quarry belong to Ezillo, adding that they had given several signals and warnings to lyionu to desist from the area but they insisted, claiming right of the said portion of land.
He further said that the youths went there to pursue the workers at the quarry and not intending to a fight their brothers, lyionu but they became brutal on them.
He assured that the crisis being brotherly misunderstanding has been controlled by the intervention of the military and other security agencies on Tuesday, 20th April, 2021 but confirmed the killing of some people but that he had not seen them, but saw some motorcycles that were burnt by the two warring groups along the Ezillo/lyionu Azuinyaba route.
It would be recalled that some commuters were blocked at Ezillo area of the Enugu/Abakaliki High Way on Tuesday, 20th April 2021.
Some commuters said that the road block was staged by the Ezillo youths and this warranted some vehicles diverting to Nkalagu/Eha-Amufu Federal Road and took Nigercem route to Ngbo and via Ezzangbo Junction and even those from Abakaliki to Enugu also took the Ngbo area through Nigercem to Nkalagu Junction until the federal road was cleared by the soldiers and security personnel and restored free flow of vehicles without any harm on passersby.
On the 21st April, 2021, the reporter went to the Ezillo area and noticed absolute peace though did not move towards the war thorn area Iyionu to see what the situation was like.
When the reporter called Azuinyaba, if they were passing through the war-thorn area to Ezillo, he said that they preferred Idodo end for their journey but said that there were no sounds of guns since the intervention of security men.
Meanwhile, fears still grip the two communities and environs as no one knows their plans or the next lines of action. The federal road was free for traffic flow and security men were on serious road block at strategic place between Ezillo and Ntezi area of the road.