Metro & Crime

Endangered: Girls now Ebonyi rapists, ritual killers’ targets

A 21-one-year-old girl, Chineme, was abducted last Thursday and taken into a thick forest where she was gang-raped and then hung on a tree, waiting to be slaughtered for a sacrifice. She would have been killed on July 18, 2021 and used for sacrifice, but for what she called “divine intervention”. Chineme was abducted by a commercial motorcyclist and taken into a forest in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital.

She was stripped, raped and then hung on a tree, waiting to die and then be used for a sacrifice. The people of Enyibichiri Echi-Alike Ikwo in Ikwo Local Government Area and their neighbouring Enyigba in Abakaliki Local Government Area had been at war for decades, with many lives and property worth billions of naira destroyed. In the last few months, the crisis has escalated, with killings, abductions and further destruction of property becoming the norm. Governor Dave Umahi has also intensified efforts to end the mayhem, with security forces making more arrests.

Despite these efforts, it was alleged that secret abductions and killings have continued. Chineme would have been the latest victim of such ritual killings. Chineme, who operates a patent medicine shop, was going to the market to buy drugs to stock her shop, when she ran into the motorcyclist, unaware he was working for some ritual killers. Meanwhile, her wedding would be coming up on September 25, 2021. She alighted at the popular Spera-In-Deo Junction in the capital city, where some motorcycle operators were already there and took a motorcycle heading to the market.

The motorcyclist, instead of taking Chineme to the market, diverted into a forest where 15 warlords were already waiting. Immediately the men sighted her, they pounced on her like hungry hyenas and stripped her. Chineme said the cyclist diverted into a bush. She said: “But before he diverted, the cyclist told me that what Izzi people were doing to Ikwo people was wrong. He said that he was praying to God to give the Ikwo people the heart to retaliate against the Izzi people. I didn’t utter a word.

He asked me to speak Ikwo dialect so that I wouldn’t be killed by Izzi people; I responded okay; unaware that he was an Izzi man. Before I knew what was happening, he had passed the market and rode into the bush. I started crying. I told him that he was taking me to where I didn’t ask him. He told me to keep quiet. When we got to the bush, 15 men were already waiting.

They pulled off my clothes and set them on fire. They then put a rope around my neck and hung me to a tree.” Chineme recalled taking the motorcycle about 9.17am, but they got into the forest by 1pm. The men threatened to kill and use her for sacrifice on Sunday. She added: “There was a native doctor in the bush with them. When he saw me, he shouted that they had seen the person they would use for the sacrifice. He brought out a tortoise and placed it on my neck. By my left and right sides, were two men, whose bodies were decomposing. I had N35,000 on me, but they collected it.”

The men would later leave to get food, while another, who took over and was supposed to act as the watch until the next day, decided to free Chineme. After about two hours into the watching game, the man walked up to Chineme. “He said that he was shocked to see that I was still alive. According to him, the two decomposing bodies beside me died less than 10 minutes after they were hung to the tree. He said that for staying alive two hours after, that he would save me. He used a machete and cut off the rope on me and then brought me down. He told me to follow him to a particular road and from there to go home. I saw many human parts, including skulls in that forest.

The man released me about 3pm, but I got home about 9pm,” Chineme recalled. Chineme’s fiancé, Chinedu Emmanuel, said: “I’m very sad over this incident. Government and security forces should do everything humanly possible to put an end to all these crimes.” The Chairman of Ikwo Local Government Area, Chief Steve Orogwu, described the incident as wickedness.

He said: “Ikwo people remain an endangered set of people. A vehicle will come out at night, shouting Ikwo! Ikwo! Mid-way into the journey, the vehicle would divert into a bush, where all the passengers would be killed.” The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Loveth Odah, said the police command was investigating the matter. She said: “The Commissioner of Police has vowed to do everything within the ambit of the law to ensure that the suspects are arrested and brought to book.” In Okposi, Ohaozara Local Government Area of the state, another girl, Chioma, 17, was also raped. She was blindfolded and gang-raped by four suspected cultists.

Chioma was raped in a hotel. She said that among her rapists, was a man who had earlier made sexual advances at her, but she rebuffed him. She believed that was the reason for her attack. When the alleged rapists were arrested, they said Chioma was a member of the female wing of their confraternity. She had allegedly offended a male leader in the group and needed to be punished.

The punishment was gang rape. Chioma said: “I was going home when I met some boys. One of them had wanted to date me, but I turned him down. They wanted to beat me, but I ran away. On Sunday morning, they came to my house and took me to Romic Hotel.

The leader of the gang, Okoronkwo Uche aka Smart, sent some of those boys to come and pick me from my house. Zanga, who is their female member, and Jardon took me to Romic Hotel. There were four men who raped me in that hotel – Jardon, Kosoko, UK and another guy. When I got to the hotel, they told Zanga to take me to the room and ordered me to remove my clothes, which I immediately did because Zanga threatened to shoot me if I refused. I was blindfolded and then raped.” She said that Zanga, on that fateful day, asked her to make a choice between being raped, beaten or becoming a queen in the confraternity.

She said: “I chose to be beaten, but they refused and instead ordered me to remove my dress. After raping me, they told me that I had become part of them. I reported the matter to a woman.” The PPRO, Odah, unlike in the case of Chineme, said that investigation had been concluded and that the suspects would be arraigned. Odah explained that Okoronkwo Uche, the supposed leader of the gang, ordered the gangrape against the teenager as a punishment for the issue she had with one of the members of the cult group. She added: “Okoronkwo Uche said the gang-rape was a way of punishing anybody who committed offence in their cult group. Before the group commits a crime, he must be aware. He refused to call the police when the girl was being gang-raped because he is the head of the cult. He will not want the police to arrest his members.” Uche said the victim had an issue with his friend, and he was contacted on the phone to settle the issue. He explained that in the process of settling the issue, the girl ran away, forcing them to trace her to her house, where she was picked and dragged to the hotel. He added: “I’m the Coordinator of the Vikings. There is a girl that is a member of Supreme Vikings Confraternity and she was having an issue with my friend in a bar.

They called me on the phone to come and settle the issue and I went there. In the process of settling the issue, the girl ran away. Some of my colleagues and I went to her house to look for her, and brought her to the bar. “The owner of the bar reported the matter to the police and we were arrested. The commissioner of police asked her one-onone if I was among those who raped her but she said no. I was present when she was being raped, but I did not have intercourse with her. I was actually present when she was being raped but at a time I left there.” Another suspect, Okoronkwo Philemon, said: “I was on the farm when I received a call that I should come to Romic Hotel.

When I got to the hotel, I saw some guys; Chibiy, Chaworin, UK and Jardon. Before I entered the hotel, all of them were outside. I asked them what the problem was; they told me that the girl fucked up and that they treated her fuck up. I asked what the fuck up was, and they said she was our member; Supreme Vikings that she insulted our leader and they treated her fuck up. Before I got to the hotel where she was raped, everything had been settled. She is our women wing cult member.”

 

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