Akwa Ibom state has denied reports of Cameroonian gendarmes killing of 40 Nigerians, describing It as capable of causing diplomatic crisis.
The state government said gendarmes did not kill any of Nigerian indigenes at Idiaabatu Fishing Settlement in Cameroon.
This Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Governor, Mr Ekikere Umoh, said in a statement in Uyo on Wednesday that the killings and burning of Akwa Ibom property was masterminded and executed by a local militia known as Asanawana, operating in the Shell Creek Area.
“The attention of the Office of the Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State has been drawn to recent media reports insinuating resumed border hostilities by Cameroonian authorities resulting in the death of several indigenes of Akwa Ibom residing in the Cameroons.
He said that the report could trigger a diplomatic crisis with attendant grave consequences on both sides.
Putting the issue in perspective, he said: “There is hardly an iota of truth in the allegations that the killings and wanton acts of arson and destruction of property of Akwa Ibom indigenes living at the Shell Creek in Cameroon, was carried out by Cameroonian authorities.
“From discreet investigations which have been corroborated by affected returnees, the killings and burning of Akwa Ibom indigenes property at the Idiaabatu fishing settlement in Cameroon was the result of the heightening of a prolonged feud between two indigenous groups.
“The incident took place last weekend when majority of the residents visited Akwa Ibom to attend a burial at Ikot Inyang Esuk in Uyo.
“We have been informed that the attack was masterminded and executed by a local militia operating in the Shell Creek Area by the name Asanwana, and purportedly backed by a local chieftain,” Umoh said.
He added that the Cameroonian army had mobilised into the fishing settlement; and that the culprits have been arrested.
“We also have it on good authority that following an official report, the Cameroonian army at Abana mobilised into the fishing community and arrested 15 suspects involved in the weekend carnage,” he said.
He said the Deputy Governor, Mr Moses Ekpo, had urged the Chairman of Uyo and Uruan local government areas, whose indigenes form the bulk of the victims, to reach out to the affected indigenes for assistance. (NAN)