ALLEGED bitter clashes between rival cult groups, left more than 25 persons death in two oil and gas producing states in Southern Nigeria last week.
In the Cross River State axis of the volatile oil region, sources claimed that more than 15 persons were gruesomely murdered by dangerously armed youths said to be cultists in what is now known in some circles as ”one week of horror” in Calabar, the state capital.
The serial attacks allegedly got the state government napping. Concerned citizens in Calabar South Local Government Area, easily the hot bed of the cult uprising, told AkanimoReports that the killing spree was sparked by alleged murder of a student of the state-owned University of Technology, CRUTECH.
The claimed that the student whose name was not given, was shot death at an eatery. Guarded whispers in the city indicate that the killings was as a result of reprisal attacks.
But the chaos was rescued by soldiers who were poured into the streets to arrest the situation from degenerating into a state of anarchy. In the process, 93 suspects were picked up by troops, some of them caught with arms and ammunition.
In Rivers State, clashes between Deegbam and Greenlanders, suspected cult groups, snuffed life out of 10 persons in Omoku, in Ogba/Egbeme/Ndoni Local Government Area.
The killings allegedly took place in the night. Freely used were guns, axes and knifes which they allegedly employed to hack their victims to death.
For those who know that oil community better, over six local cult groups are operating in Omoku, the headquarters of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni area.
Since the resumption of hostility among cult groups, Omoku is fast becoming a ghost of its usual lively and busy self as social and economic activities are being paralyzed.
“Eight persons were killed as at last Wednesday, before the brutal killing of another two on Old Oba Road in Omoku on June 27, 2012,’’ a source said, pointing out that it was as a result of the latest killing that prompted government to deploy the Joint Task Force, JTF, a special outfit of the armed security forces, to the area.
Local people in the area say raids by the JTF are inflicting more pains than relief to them, because the security forces are allegedly ”cruel and merciless” on everybody sighted in their areas of operation.
Spokesman for JTF, Captain Sunday Samuel, has confirmed the deployment of the special security outfit to Omoku, explaining that the deployment was as a result of incessant cult-related killings reported in the area.
Samuel added that 19 suspects were arrested during their raids, pointing out that after interrogation, ”JTF will hand the suspects to the police for prosecution”.