2 dead, houses torched in Edo communal clash


Solomon Arase, Inspector General of Police

Jethro Ibileke/Benin

Solomon Arase, Inspector General of Police
Solomon Arase, Inspector General of Police

Two person have been reportedly killed and thousands of residents of Bekuma-Okpameri community in Akoko-Edo local government area of Edo state, have abandoned the community and are now camped at a makeshift camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in Lampese, a neighbouring community, following a clash between Uneme-Ekpedo and Bekuma-Okpameri communities.

Trouble was said to have started following an alleged killing of one of four people from Uneme-Ekpedo community who were said to have gone to the bush to pluck mangoes, by persons suspected to be members of Bekuma-Okpameri community.

Irked by the incident, youths from Uneme-Ekpedo community allegedly mobilised and attacked Bekuma-Okpameri, setting houses on fire and attacking residents.

It was gathered that over 40 houses including the palace of the Oba of Bekuma-Okpameri, HRH Oba Moses Alabi, were set on fire by the rampaging youths.

It was further gathered that scores of people, who were wounded are now receiving medical treatment at hospitals and the IDP camp.

A source in the area who spoke to journalists on phone, said, “As I’m talking to you now, there is nobody in Bekuma-Okpameri. It was unbelievable. The youths have completely sacked the community and residents are now camped in Lampese.”

He said from the information available to them, the persons who committed the crime that led to the arson on the Bekuma-Okpameri was neither an indigene of Bekuma-Okpameri nor from any of the Okpameri communities.

Edo State police commissioner, Chris Ezike, who confirmed the incident to journalists in Benin on phone, said that five police teams have been dispatched to the affected communities to unravel the cause of the trouble and to arrest the perpetrators. ‎

He added that an assistant commissioner of police visited the communities on Friday and held talks with the two traditional rulers.