Nine persons killed in Osun, Benue, Anambra cult crisis, Nigeria news

Nine persons killed in Osun, Benue, Anambra cult crisis
Charles Nwoke, Oshogbo, Nigeria
March 29, 2021 

Image courtesy of local sources, fair use. _A street is deserted, as clashes continue in the Osun, Benue, and Anambra states.

Cult clashes claim the lives of nine persons in rival cult clashes in Osun, Benue, and Anambra states.

Osogbo particularly, the Osun State capital, three individuals were said to have been killed on Sunday when rival cult groups engaged in bloody violence in some parts of the state.

The victims of the cult clashes according to sources, were identified as Sogo Owonikoko, aka Marley; Daniel and one Afeez, popularly known as Eja.

The killings commenced around 8 am at Alie junction close to the Obate village when gunmen believed to be members of Aye Confraternity reportedly stormed the area on motorcycles and shot dead Owonikoko.

The late victim was believed to be a member of the opposing Eye Confraternity.

Around 8:30 am on Kolawole Street, armed men on motorcycles equally shot dead one Daniel, who was said to be paying a visit to a friend.

Those who carried out the killing reportedly fled after shooting the victim in the head.

Afeez, another suspected cultist, was also allegedly hacked to death around the Obalende area of the city by members of a cult group.

As at the time of filing this report, Kolawole Street and Alie junction axis were deserted as residents stayed indoors because of fear of reprisal attack by the rampaging criminal groups.

When contacted, the Public Relations Officer for the Osun State Police Command, Yemisi Opalola, said one person was reported killed.

“One Nofisat Owonikoko, a resident of Ita-Olokan, reported that her husband, Sogo, aka Marley, 44, suspected to be a member of the Eye Confraternity, was shot dead by members of the rival Aye Confraternity around 10 am in the Obate area,” said Opalola.

“Operatives deployed in the area evacuated the corpse of the deceased and deposited it in the morgue of the Osun State University Teaching Hospital, Osogbo. The investigation has commenced and we will continue to brief the public on our findings. But for now, normalcy has been restored.”

Meanwhile, three persons were reportedly murdered in cult-related combat in Odoba Otukpa, Ogbadibo Local Government Area Council of Benue State on Saturday.

Sources from the community revealed that controversy ensued at a birthday party organized by one of the youths in the Odoba community.

A source who pleaded anonymity disclosed that a young man from the neighboring Obu Otukpa, who attended the party, was gruesomely hacked to death by the gang.

It was gathered that a rival group embarked on retaliation, which resulted in the death of two other victims from the Odoba community.

Residents said, one of the slain persons from Odoba was anticipated to inhume his late father this week before the unfortunate incident.

The Ogbadibo Local Government Council Chairman, Prince Samuel Onu, when contacted, confirmed the incident but stated that it was a cult-related case and that the Divisional Police Officer, Otukpa, was already aware of it.

“It had nothing to do with a communal crisis; it was a clash between rival groups,” he said.

“The incident happened at a party on Saturday night and we have directed that the corpses be buried immediately.”

The Benue State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Catherine Anene, however, said she is yet to receive any formal report about the incident.

In another development, a porter was reportedly murdered on Sunday by a stray bullet allegedly fired by a soldier, who was said to be chasing some cult members.

This incident occurred at the Eke Awka roundabout in the Awka South Local Government Area Council, Anambra State.

According to reports, two other persons were killed in the same place on Sunday in a war between two rival cult groups.

The war was said to have heated up on Saturday in Awka with sporadic shooting at different points in the metropolis.

A source narrated, “Since Saturday, there have been shootouts in different parts of the state capital.

“One person was gunned down in the Eke Awka Market area of the town, while the others were killed in other parts of the capital city, including Ifite village”.

“A porter was killed by a stray bullet said to be fired by a soldier, who was chasing the cultists.”

Ikenga Tochukwu, the Anambra State Police Command Public Relation Officer, confirmed the incident when he said that only two persons were killed, adding that the police were doing everything humanly possible to restore normalcy and peaceful coexistence within the area.