The death toll in the Effium intra communal clash in Ohaukwu local government area of Ebonyi State has risen to about 40, residents said on Sunday.
Though there was no official confirmation of deaths recorded so far, residents told reporters on Sunday that the death toll has risen astronomically.
Former Secretary to the State Government, Bernard Odoh, in a statement, said the death toll has risen to over 40.
Odoh quoted villagers and information available on social media as stating 10 persons were killed on Friday.
He said: “Already, natives have put the figures of lives lost to this unhealthy rivalry at over 40 while properties such as houses, shops and markets have been destroyed and burnt by the rampaging rival youth groups”
“Information available mainly in social media domains discloses that about 10 persons had earlier lost their lives on Friday night while about 15 musical band boys who went about their daily business in the area were caught in the cross-fire and murdered mercilessly by one of the opposing groups that were on a reprisal attack.”
Odoh said many residents have since fled their homes and farm settlements to nearby villages in horrible sceneries reminiscent of the civil war situation.
But Police Commissioner in the State, Aliyu Garba insisted that only seven persons were killed while nine others were injured
His claims were disputed by many sources from the community and journalists who visited the community in the entourage of the Deputy Governor on Sunday.
Dead bodies littered around the community when the Deputy Governor visited the area on Sunday, his second visit in two days.
Violence had erupted in the community on Friday and continued on Saturday leading to the deaths of many residents.
The Police on Saturday night said at least seven persons have been killed in the violence so far while over nine others have been injured.
But members of the community said the death toll was way higher than the official figures.
A source claimed 15 young men who were members of a musical band were killed on Sunday while on their way to perform at an occasion.
Houses, cars and other properties worth millions were burnt and destroyed.
Hundreds of persons have been displaced.
Credit: The Nation