By Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
No fewer than eight persons have been reportedly killed in a three-day onslaughts that ensued between two rival cult groups in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, at the weekend.
The attacks, according to THISDAY checks, started last Thursday and have claimed the lives of at least one person in Oyun ,Ikokoro, Osere, Olunlade, Niger, Kilanko, Olufadi, Egebejila and Ita -Ogunbo areas of Ilorin.
It was gathered that most of the killings, except two, were said to have been carried out in broad daylight.
But the state police command said it could only confirm the death of three persons even as it said some suspects have been arrested in connection with the attacks.
Residents of Ikokoro area of Ilorin where the killings started, recounted the gory picture of how suspected rival cult members stormed the area by 2: 45p.m., chased after their target and shot him dead in an apartment where he had sought refuge.
The victim, simply identified as Abbey, according to residents, was shot in the neck region, leaving him in his pool of blood.
“Between 2:30p.m. and 3p.m. today (Thursday), some rival cult members armed with guns, came and struck. They ran after some people believed to be their rivals.
“They made their ways into an apartment where Abbey was waiting, and shot him dead.
“They left the scene afterward, as people started running helter-skelter because the cultists were seeing moving freely after the attack without anybody challenging them,” a resident said.
The onslaughts spread to Osere late in the evening with the hacking down of another person simply identified as Itu followed by the killing of another target in Olunlade area of Ilorin.
The killing spree continued unchecked the following day (Friday) as two more casualties were recorded on Niger road and Kilanko areas all within Ilorin.
It was also gathered that the day three of the attacks (Saturday) claimed the lives of the seventh and eighth persons in the afternoon at Egbejila area along Ilorin International Airport road and later at night at Ita–ogunbo area, bringing the number of casualties so far to eight in three days.
However, another lifeless body was said to have been found in Oyun along Ilorin Jebba road.
In most of the killings, residents said the assailants closed in on their targets shooting them at close range and in some cases, inflicted machete cuts on them.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), an Assistant Deputy Superintendent of Police, Ajayi Okasanmi, who confirmed the cultists attacks yesterday in Ilorin, said the police had deployed special forces to flash points and area believed to be the strong hold of the of the rival groups to check the situation while they continue to trail other suspects.
Meanwhile, Okasanmi in a statement he issued on behalf of the state commissioner of police titled: ‘Illegal possession/control of firearms’, warned those in possession of unlicenced fire arms and ammunition to surrender them to the police.
The statement read: “The Command wishes to remind the public that the law guarding the possession and control of fire arms and ammunition is still in force, the categories of fire arms to be possessed by individuals is for gamming and strictly with the licences issue by the Inspector General of Police (IG).
“The commissioner of police with the consent of the governor of the state may by order prohibit the possession or control of firearms without the licence of an authority specified above.
‘‘Therefore the police may request the production of any licence or permit, confiscate and prosecute the owner of such firearms.
‘‘Members of the public are by this medium warned to submit such firearms at the nearest police station, as any person arrested with unlicenced firearms will be delt with in accordance with the law.”
The command also directed all vigilantes operating in the state to report to the divisional police officer (DPO) of their communities for authentication and briefing on how to carry out their assignments