No fewer than five persons have been reported dead and several others injured following renewed hostilities over a land dispute between Uko Ntenghe and Uko Akpan communities in Mbo Council of Akwa Ibom State.

The lingering dispute escalated on Monday when militant youths from Uko Ntenghe invaded the farmland, raped and took a woman hostage, while another set of youths went to Uko Akpan in Enwang, headquarters of the council, and killed five persons.

An eye witness told newsmen that the armed youths shot sporadically in the community, making residents run for their dear lives, even as the invaders set two houses and several cars ablaze in the community, lamenting that the area has been deserted following the incident.

It was also learnt that the whereabouts of the clan head, Ovong Bassey Atabia II, was unknown and one of his sons was among those injured by the militants.

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A youth leader, Michael Etim, appealed to the state government and security agencies to intervene and restore peace in the area, adding: “This is a matter of life and death. The villagers are not safe.”

The state Police Command assured that its men were on top of the situation as the investigation was ongoing, but the Enwang Community requested reinforcement from other security agencies to safeguard life and property in the community.

Reacting to the report, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Odiko MacDon, said: “We are on top of the situation and our men are on ground in the community to forestall fresh attacks.”

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