The Ebonyi State Police Command has confirmed the death of eight persons and arrest of more than 60 others following clashes between Effium and Ezza Effium communities in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of the state.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Aliyu Garba, made the disclosure on Sunday during a joint security operation, which included the state Deputy Governor, Dr. Kelechi Igwe, to the affected areas.
Garba, while stating that normalcy had returned to the communities, also confirmed that about eight houses, including a petrol station, were burnt.
He said: “The crisis was fuelled by a leadership tussle at the area’s branch of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, involving old and new executives.
“The police have ensured adequate security and I doubt if anything would breach the peace in the areas again.”
The police commissioner said the presence of a joint security operation in the area will send a signal to the perpetrators of the dastardly acts that the force was “on ground”.
Garba said: “It will also avert a re-occurrence of the clashes, and after investigations, the suspects will appear in court for prosecution.
“I can also confirm the arrest of stakeholders from the areas and anyone found culpable will be duly prosecuted.”
Also speaking, Stanley Okoro-Emegha, the Ebonyi State Commissioner for Border, Peace and Internal Security, commended the police, saying their proactive response had helped in restoring normalcy to the areas.
Okoro-Emegha said: “The Commissioner of Police has shown that he meant business, as he pleaded with the leaders and the people to allow peace reign, but unfortunately, they did not heed to the advice.
“We conducted a joint operation, which led to the arrest of the suspects.
“Even those in government, who were involved in the crisis, will be duly prosecuted.”
He chided those giving political colouration to the clashes, noting that government had shown enough resolve to duly prosecute the culprits, no matter their political affiliations.
The deputy governor called for calm, saying that government would ensure that the situation was permanently nipped in the bud.