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Four persons, including Major Lawrence Ugbo (retd.), a former Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, state chairmen were, Wednesday, reportedly killed in a conflict between supporters of All Progressives Congress, APC, and PDP, at Ondo community, in Ogobia, Ugboju District of Otukpo Local Government Area of Benue state.
The Chief Security Officer of the local government, Mr. Christopher Ogbleba, and his son were also reportedly killed in the crisis.
Vanguard learned that the crisis, a spill-over of the rivalry between a former Otukpo council chairman, who is of APC and his brother, who is a PDP faithful, also left several persons with bullet wounds.
According to the eyewitness, houses and vehicles were razed by the feuding parties, while several persons, including women and children, have been rendered homeless just as many have fled the community for fear of being killed
According to an eyewitness: “The bloody crisis broke out in the community after some armed youths from Ugboju allegedly attacked a group of young men, who were believed to be loyalists of the former council boss, while they were holding a meeting with their supposed leader in the community.
“The aggrieved youths beat a retreat and mobilised for a reprisal attack and the ensuing bloody fight between the two bitter rivals led to the death of many, including the retired military officer, who was an APC chieftain, and a former State Chairman of PDP.
“The Chief Security Officer of the Local Government, Mr. Christopher Ogbleba, and his son were among those killed in the crisis.”
Coucil boss reacts
Reacting, Otukpo Local Government Chairman, Mr. George Alli, who alongside security operatives toured the devastated community, expressed shock at the level of destruction in the community.
His words: “It is quite disheartening that people can allow their personal differences degenerate to the level of taking the lives of others and the razing of their houses and property; I am indeed sad.
“I plead for calm and also urge the warring communities to sheathe their swords and embrace peace, because no meaningful development can take place in an atmosphere of war and crisis.”
Confirming the development, the Police Public Relations Officer, Assistant Superintendent Moses Yamu, said four persons were killed in the crisis, while four others who sustained bullet wounds had been taken for medical attention in a public hospital.
He added: “The crisis was attributed to the two brothers. As I speak with you, we have arrested one, while the search for the other is ongoing.
“We have beefed up security in the community and calm has also returned to the area.”