By Nwogha Ndubuisi Andy
Ebonyi State Command of Nigeria Police has arrested 36 suspects of the cult clashes in Afikpo South Local Government Area of Ebonyi state.
Recall that last weekend, the Executive Chairman, Afikpo South Council Area, Hon. (Barr) Eni Uduma Chima confirmed to us the bloody incident of cult clash in the area.
However, the Police Public Relations Officer, of the State Command, Loveth Odah said that nine suspects are in connection with the recent killings and violence in the affected communities in the area are in police custody and would be prosecuted.
According to her, “Though we arrested 36 of them, but they were screened and nine of them are in detention, investigations are ongoing and more will be arrested “
Relatively, another victim of the incident, Sunday Oji, a 20 years old student of Comprehensive Secondary School, Ogwuma Edda in Afikpo South Local Government Area of Ebonyi state, on Wednesday 13th May, 2020 has narrated to journalists how he narrowly escaped being buried alive by alleged cult gangs inside a bush in the area.
Also recall was that Ekoli, Owutu and Ogwuma communities in Afikpo South local government have in the past one month embroiled in bloody cult clashes, which have resulted to the gruesome murder of at least three young men, gun violence and destruction of property in the communities.
Oji who spoke at his hospital bed in Afikpo said the cult group mistook him to a rival cult member and dragged him into a bush where they had already dug a grave to bury him.
The victim who had matchet cuts all over his body explained that it took the intervention of local hunters who came to the scene upon hearing his cries for help for him to escape being buried alive.
He said the hoodlums had already covered all parts of his body inside the grave remaining only his head, when they hear movement of people approaching the scene and ran away.
Oji said that the hoodlums who abducted him from his village Ogwuma took him to Ekoli, a neighbouring community where they planned to bury him alive.
In the words of Mr. Orji, the thugs claimed they were avenging the killing of one of their members who was shot dead last week in the area.
He said, “While I was in our compound, one of my friends came and told me to escort him to buy something. When we reached the store, we saw three boys with three bikes destroying and looting the shop of one guy called Imo Orji. One of them came to me and asked me where is Imo, Is Imo around and I told him them that I don’t know. Another one asked me if I followed that guy and went there. I told him which place, that I didn’t follow anybody to anywhere.”
“Before I could finish speaking, the other person interrupted me and said that I followed the guy there. Before I knew what was happening, they started beating and matcheting me with cutlass, saying that I was the one that carried the gun and shot the guy that day. I told them it’s not me and I’ve not carried gun before in my life. They said it’s not true I’m the one. When they noticed that people have started noticing them, they bundled me on their bike and zoomed off. Later they now took me to Ekoli plantation farm Ibuo where they dug ground and put me and cover me, as I was suffocating, shouting for help, they heard footsteps of people coming and they fled.”
Also the traditional ruler of Umunna Autonomous community, Ezeogo Dickson Obo in his interview with journalists described the security situation in the area as pathetic and terrible and has called the security agencies and government to intervene
“Security situation here in my community Umunna Community is very dicey, challenging and bad, We are calling the state government and other security agencies to come to our rescue. Some people from neighbouring community Ekoli usually come here to besiege us, causing problems because they know that we don’t have somebody to speak for us. This is not the first time they have been attacking us. The community is feeling bad and sad on the attack of Sunday Orji. We’re telling the government to intervene”, he said.