By Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
A renewed cult war in the last few days has reportedly claimed five lives, including the two persons killed during the weekend in Auchi, Etsako West Local Government Area (LGA) when two suspected rival cult groups clashed.
It was gathered that a medicine store owner along Igbei street and a generator mechanic were among the dead victims of the clash.
As soon as news of the clash broke out, a combined team of armed police operatives and the local vigilante were drafted to the streets to restore law and order, while the streets were deserted and stores forced to close down.
Also last Thursday, a technician identified as Godbless Olitan was killed by persons suspected to be cultists near Oliha market in Benin City.
He was chased by his assailants who drove a Toyota Camry car to a building along Ore-Oghene where he was eventually killed.
According to eye-witnesses, the deceased, as gathered, received a call while in his family house at No 6, Bazuaye Street Off Ore-Oghene street that a customer was waiting for him at his shop near the market.
Similarly, not less than two persons were reported to have been killed in another cult clashes around Upper Uwa, Isiemwerho between 1st and 2ndEast Circular Road, and at Uwhene Ugbague road axis of the city.
In Auchi however, investigations carried out have revealed that the most worrying aspect of cult activities in the area is that some members of security agencies and vigilante groups are believed to be members of some of the cult groups
In the past, initial cult clashes have always been between members of the Black axe and Eiye confraternities, but recent development showed that members of another group identified as Maphites have become part of the renewed clash.
As at press time, the Edo Police Public Relations Officer, Chidi Nwabuzor, has not responded to calls put across to him, but a senior police officer who preferred not to be named, said the security outfit has been on the trail of those involved in the cult clashes with a view to bringing them to book.