Sylvester Idowu in Warri
No fewer than 16 members of different cult groups were reported to have been killed in some communities in Warri South senatorial area of Delta State in the last one week.
Scores of others were also reported to have been wounded from machette cuts and gunshots in the cult war going on in major cities and towns, especially in the remote settlements.
Security sources told THISDAY Tuesday that the areas mostly affected were Udu, Enerhen, Sapele, Ughelli, Ozoro and Oghara where incidences of cultism were recorded on daily basis.
For instance, in Udu Local Government Area where cultism was reported to have reached its climax, it was gathered that rival cult members used to be on the trail of one another to various drinking bars and joints perceived to be the home base of their opponents to unleash terror on both members and innocent indigenes of the area.
Another source close to the Udu Council of Elders disclosed that nine persons have been killed within the last two weeks in series of attacks and reprisal between two rival cult groups in the area.
It was gathered that some major hotels in Udu area now play host to these cult groups and it is from these hotels that the members plot their next strike on their opponent and other counter attacks that had claimed many
lives and several injuries.
To checkmate the growing menace, the security source disclosed that a joint police sting operation coordinated from the office of the Warri Area Commander and led by the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), B Division, Okumagba Avenue, CSP Anietie Eyoh, led to the arrest of over 36 cult members during a raid on two hotels along the DSC expressway last weekend.
Another raid to the Enerhen community by the same police special task force, it was learnt, also resulted in the arrest of over 15 cult members in some notorious hideouts where the various cult groups converged regularly.
Reacting to the police raid of cultists’ hideout, President General of the Udu community, Chief Matthew Ukpara, commended the police for its prompt response to the distress calls by the community on the activities of cultists in the area, stating that with this intervention the area had remained calm.
“On behalf of the Udu people, I want to sincerely thank the Delta Commissioner of Police and the Warri Area Commander as well as other security agents for their swift response to our distress call when cult activities were getting out of hand in our community.
“We particularly appreciate the effort of the B Division DPO, CSP Anietie Eyoh, who led the team for a job well done,” he said.
Confirming the arrests, Delta State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Andrew Aniamaka, explained that the recent invasion of hotels and other hideouts of cultists and other criminals was carried out based on intelligence reports made available to the police.
All the arrested suspects, he disclosed, have since been transferred to the state police headquarters in Asaba for further investigations and prosecution.