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‘To prevent communal clash’ — Alia asks two communities to steer clear of Antse river

Hyacinth Alia, governor of Benue state Hyacinth Alia, governor of Benue state

Hyacinth Alia, governor of Benue, has asked the Unyande and Kwenev communities in Guma LGA of the state to steer clear of River Antse.

Joseph Har, special adviser to Alia on security, issued the directive after a stakeholders meeting on Sunday.

The communities have reportedly clashed several times over ownership of the river.

The commissioner said the move is aimed at preventing a communal clash following intelligence reports of possible escalation of tension in the area.

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“Government has ordered that nobody from Unyande and Kwenev should go close to River Antse until they hear from Government. We will reconvene on Sunday,” NAN quoted Har as saying.

“This administration has zero tolerance for communal clashes. So we want to stop it before it begins. If anyone goes ahead to do anything that may lead to the breakdown of law and order, we will go after the person.”

Dennis Shemberga, the traditional ruler of Guma, commended the state government for its prompt intervention.

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Shemberga said the communities are claiming ownership of the river because of the fishes in it and the fertile land around its banks — which is usually used for dry season farming.

He said the dispute started more than 30 years ago and has claimed many lives.

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