Six killed in Ekiti cult clash
It was a tragic weekend for residents of Mbamondo, Makurdi Modern Market Council Ward, Benue State, as armed men killed five members of an extended family and three others.
The victims included a grandfather, his son and three grandchildren. Also, at least six people were killed when rival cult groups clashed at Ikere- Ekiti in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State. In the Benue attack, the armed men, who residents said were Fulani, also injured five other neighbours, three of whom were still in critical conditions.
Among those killed were two children of between the ages of 10 and 12. Many residents, who fled the troubled area, were said to be taking refuge within Makurdi metropolis.
An indigene of the community, who is the Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Solid Minerals, Mr. Bernard Unenge, told journalists that “the attack was unprovoked”.
He said: “The entire thing started about 1am on Saturday when I got a call from my village, Mbamondu community in Makurdi Modern Market Council Ward of Makurdi Local Government, that my people were being attacked by Fulani herdsmen militia.
“We had to call on the security operatives that were stationed around the Adaka community. Though they responded when they got there the people (attackers) had killed my people.
“We discovered seven dead bodies that we have already deposited at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Makurdi, mortuary. Five persons were also injured and three of them are very critical.
“It is heartrending and tragic because my people did not incite or provoke the attack. They came into my village, started shooting sporadically and when people were running out of their houses to flee for safety they shot and butchered them like animals.
“In one family, they killed five people, a father of about 70 years, his son and his three grandchildren. “This happened just within the 16 kilometres radius and two kilometres after the Adaka community here in Makurdi.” Meanwhile, Governor Samuel Ortom has warned people against being hostile to security agents.
Besides, the governor warned against actions that could lead to the death of security operatives deployed to the state to restore peace. Ortom spoke at Daudu during a funeral oration in honour of John Azulo who died of suspected COVID-19 complications.
He said: “No one should be tempted to be hostile to any security personnel let alone molestation. I won’t talk of attacking or killing security men. “Security agents are meant to protect lives and property and they have families like all of us just as blood runs in their way it does in others.”
The governor said rather than being hostile, the people, particularly youths, should support the agencies in executing their constitutional duties of enforcing the law. Ortom promised that the militia group in Konshisha Local Government which killed soldiers had murdered sleep.
He vowed that his administration would ensure the killers were apprehended and made to face the full wrath of the law.
Ortom extolled the virtues of Chief Azulo, describing him as one who resisted the temptation to derail from his known principles of love, peace, truthfulness and strength of character for which he would always be remembered.
Meanwhile, the Ekiti State clash, which started on Saturday evening, spilled till yesterday morning. The clash started when a member of one of the cult groups, identified as Ojuale, was shot dead near Ikere City Hall, Odo Oja area of the town.
Ojuale, an indigene of the town, came from Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Friday to attend a friend’s wedding before he was killed by rival cult members. Shortly after he was murdered, his members came out for a reprisal and unleashed terror on residents of the area.
A resident claimed that five people were killed when the attacks started on Saturday while another person was killed yesterday. The suspected cultists were said to have embarked on sporadic shootings while residents of the community ran helter-skelter.
The people called on the state government to devise means of curtailing growing rival cult clashes in the town. Police have increased surveillance in the town by conducting “stop-andsearch” on vehicles coming in and out of the town.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Sunday Abutu, said the clash occurred between Saturday night and yesterday morning. Abutu disclosed that 10 suspects had been arrested in connection with the cult clash. The PPRO confirmed that six people lost their lives and that their bodies had been deposited in the morgue.