13 Persons Feared Dead as Cult Groups Clash in Akwa Ibom, Kogi

  • Suspected herdsmen kill 10 in Benue community

Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja, George Okoh in Makurdi and Okon Bassey in Uyo

No fewer than 13 persons have been feared dead as cult groups clashed in Akwa Ibom and Kogi States.

This is coming as 10 persons were on Tuesday killed when unknown gunmen suspected to be herdsmen invaded Tser Uoreleegeb in Ubabai council ward of Guma Local Government Area (LGA) of Benue State

While a midnight clash between two rival cult groups in Kabawa area of Lokoja, Kogi State capital, led to the killing of eight persons with several houses set ablaze, five persons were feared killed as two cult groups clashed in Urua Ekpa community in Itu LGA of Akwa Ibom State.

THISDAY reliably gathered Wednesday that the attack took place when one of the cult groups was holding its meeting at about 11.00 p.m. last Tuesday.

According to a source in the area, another cult group was said to have stormed the meeting venue and opened fire at the members who were holding meeting.

The shooting led to several gunshots, as four cult members from both sides were allegedly killed on the spot in Kabawa area.

The crisis further led to the burning of houses by the cultists as most of the residents fled the area.

However, in the early hours of yesterday, the situation got out of hand when both sides engaged in sporadic shooting in the area resulting in the death of four persons.

The situation left many people stranded as motorists could not ply the area due to fear of being hit by stray bullet.

As at the time of filing the report, the area has been deserted as security agents fully armed now patrol to avoid any escalation of the crisis.

Meanwhile, the Kogi State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Busari, has however deployed a team of armed men following renewed shooting by the cult groups in the early hours of yesterday morning in the Kabawa area.

The state Police Public Relation Officer, Mr. William Aya, who confirmed the clash, disclosed that no casualty was recorded.

He assured the resident of the area that the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in the area with his men has brought the situation under control.

Similarly, five persons were feared killed as two cult groups clashed in Urua Ekpa community in Akwa Ibom State.

The two-day cult war in the area, an outskirt of Uyo, the state capital, reportedly occurred last Tuesday night and continued till the morning of yesterday, which also left many wounded.

Sources alleged that the cult clash was between members of the Viking confraternity and the Iceland group.

While three persons were allegedly killed last Tuesday, two persons were reportedly killed yesterday morning.

The cause of the cult rampage could not be ascertained as the state Police Command refused to comment on the development. But a source said the two groups clashed over girlfriend issue.

A source said: “At about 9 p.m. last Tuesday when I was returning home from the market, I heard a gunshot down the street and I thought it was a vehicle tyre, but after some time I heard another gunshot again. It was when I heard the second time that I knew something was wrong.

“A few minutes later, I heard people running and creaming for their lives and by this time, there was sporadic shooting.

“Since yesterday, this area has been under serious security threat, and we couldn’t sleep last night. Three persons, including one of our neighbours, have been killed.”

Another source in the area said: “There was a big problem in this our village, yesterday (Tuesday). It continued this morning (Wednesday), and I can confirm to you that two persons have died in our street.

“I was preparing to come to my saloon this morning (Wednesday), when a group of guys started chasing our neighbour, they later caught up with him down the street, where they mercilessly murdered him.”

In a related development, 10 persons were on Tuesday killed when unknown gunmen suspected to be herdsmen invaded Tser Uoreleegeb in Ubabai council ward of Guma LGA of Benue State.

According to a source in the area, the gunmen stormed the village and shot 10 people death. “The incident happened on at the midnight; the people were sleeping outside the house because of the heat when the gunmen came to the community.

“The gunmen shot at the people and immediately ran away. So, no one can say who were responsible for the killing,” the source said.

Confirming the incident, Chairman, Guma LGA, Richard Shior said a community was attacked in his council area late hours of Tuesday with 10 people killed.

“A day before Tuesday, someone had been killed by herdsmen before the incident at Tser Uoreleegeb.

“It is the same herdsmen that went to this community on Tuesday night and killed 10 people who were sleeping outside. “The corpses are being burned as I am talking to you now; this is because the villagers said that they should bring the corpses for burial,” Shior said.Also confirming the report, the spokesman for Benue State Command, DSP, Catherine Anene said, ‘the Divisional Police Officer in Guma just confirmed the incident; he said that he found five corpses at the time he got to the burial site.

The force Commander, Operation Whirl Stroke, Major General Adeyemi Yekini said investigation was on going
on the attack on Guma community.