Metro & Crime

Cult clashes claim five lives in C’River

No fewer than five people were killed over the weekend by gunmen suspected to be cultists and militants in Akpabuyo Local Government Area of Cross River State.
The initial clashes were said to have happened between Skylo and Scorpion cult groups, but an eye witness said militants on Sunday night were drafted in to “clear” the cultists from the area.
An eyewitness, who proffered not to be mentioned by name, said that suspected gangsters numbering over 50 were armed with axes and locally made guns, shooting sporadically from Maternity axis to Forestry Checkpoint in Akpabuyo.
According to him, there were a lot of problems and people were seen running “helter and skelter.”
“Between yesterday (Saturday) and this morning, (Sunday) not less than five people had been killed. But  the problem became so horrible and fierce that businesses in the area were closed down and some churches could not open for service,” he said.
He said that the cult clash was between Skylo and Scorpion and alleged that Scorpion members started the shooting and “butchering” of Skylo members and about five persons were reportedly gunned down while property worth millions of naira were destroyed
He disclosed that as the clashes continued, a brother of a repentant kidnapper, popularly known as ‘G1’ gave the two groups ultimatum to settle their differences, failure of which he and his men wouldl come in and settle it for them. The ultimatum expired on Saturday night
“On Saturday night and Sunday morning, some armed men suspected to be militants invaded the area with a view to clearing the alleged cult groups and clean the local government area of cultists. We could not ascertain the number of people killed now
“But, one Etema was killed by Scorpion group and the Skylo members revenged the attack and G1 brother gave them an ultimatum to make peace which expired yesterday night. The fully armed men suspected to be militants entered the community in the night to clear the groups. But by 2am on Sunday, Police and Army personnel came in to restore peace and order, ” he stated.
When contacted via  phone on Sunday, the Security Adviser (South) to Governor Ben Ayade, Ani Esin said: “We had some cult related clashes in Akpabuyo Local Government Area of the state which degenerated into communal differences and we are trying to see what we can do to curtail it. We will handle the cult issue first then go into the communal differences.”

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