By Peter Duru
MAKURDI— Christmas celebrations in Benue State were, yesterday, marred by bloody clashes by rival cult groups that left no fewer than four persons dead in Makurdi, Benue State capital.
The killings are coming few days after the new state Commissioner of Police, Mr. John Haruna, warned trouble-makers to stay away from the state or be made to face the wrath of the law.
Vanguard gathered from eyewitnesses that crisis broke out at the Wadata area of the town when members of the groups engaged themselves in a heated argument over a lady.
According to our source, the argument culminated in the use of gun and other dangerous weapons leading to the instant death of two members of the cult groups. The clash left residents of Wadata town scampering for safety for fear of being caught in the ensuing cross fire.
It was further gathered that a similar scenario played out at Wurukum area of the town on Christmas eve, leading to the death of another young man.
The incidents have led to increased security patrols across the state capital by men and officers of the Benue State Police Command.
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Assistant Superinten-dent, Ejike Alaribe, confirmed the incident.
Alaribe said 57 people have been arrested in connection with the violence, adding that investigation into the matter was ongoing.
He, however, warned that Police would not hesitate to arrest anyone found disturbing public peace in the state, just as he advised parents to keep close tabs on their children and wards especially during the festive season.