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#AFCON2023 Final: Refugees, host community clash in Cross River

By Frank Ulom

There has been an aftermath of Nigeria’s loss to Ivory Coast in the final match of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON as refugees and the local community clashed in Cross River State.

Converseer gathered that the conflict between the refugees (Cameroonian) and indigenes of the host community (Nigerians) started after the Super Eagles of Nigeria lost to the Elephants of Ivory Coast on Sunday, 11 February 2024.

According to an impeccable source, the conflict happened at the Refugee Settlement in Adagom, along Ogoja-Katsina-Ala Highway, Ogoja Local Government Area of Cross River State.

The source said the clash left many injured and the closure of schools in the locality amid threats from the refugees.

“Both locals and refugees gathered to watch the match [Nigeria vs Ivory Coast] at the Refugee Settlement in Adagom, along Ogoja-Katsina-Ala Highway. However, what was intended to be a shared experience turned sour when a small argument between a Nigerian youth and a refugee quickly escalated into a violent altercation, resulting in serious injuries and bloodshed.

“The incident, which initially involved individuals, quickly spiralled into a larger conflict, reflecting the deep-seated tensions between the two groups. As a result of the escalating tensions, schools in Adagom remain closed, and local youths are expressing feelings of anger and threat toward the refugees they had previously welcomed,” the source said.

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The source added that “Efforts by the State Emergency Management Agency [SEMA] to mediate the situation were met with resistance, as they were denied entry to meet with the local chiefs, further complicating the resolution of the conflict.”

#AFCON2023 Final: Refugees, host community clash in Cross River
One of the victims of the clash between refugees and the host community in Cross River during the 2023 AFCON final. 11 Feb. 2024.

In an opinion, the source said: “This unfortunate turn of events highlights the far-reaching impact of a football match and the underlying tensions that exist within the community. The incident serves as a stark reminder of the fragility of relationships and the potential for misunderstandings to escalate into serious conflicts.

“The situation in Adagom serves as a concerning example of the impact of sports events on local dynamics and the need for effective conflict resolution strategies. It underscores the urgency of addressing the underlying issues and restoring calm to ensure the safety and well-being of all individuals involved.

“The incident stands as a sobering reminder of the complexities and challenges faced by communities hosting refugees, and the need for proactive measures to prevent similar conflicts in the future.”

Converseer is still monitoring the incident and will bring you comments from SEMA and the local chief of the community.

Converseer reports that Nigeria lost the 2023 AFCON 2-1 to host Ivory Coast with William Troost-Ekong scoring for Nigeria in the 38th minute and Franck Kessie and Sebastien Haller scoring for Ivory Coast in the 62nd and 81st minutes respectively.

Frank Ulom
Frank Ulom
Frank Ulom is an experienced Journalist, Blogger and Writer with several years of experience. His stories are based on community development and have brought positive change across board.

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