BY SIMON EBEGBULEM
BENIN CITY—NO fewer than 20 persons have been killed in the past four days in different parts of Benin City, following a renewed cult war between suspected members of Eiye Confraternity and Black Axe.
Over 10 persons were said to have been arrested by the Edo State Police Command in connection with the incident.
It was gathered that some of the leaders of the groups are on the run following the collaboration of security agencies with the state government to hunt for the suspects.
Vanguard was informed that the latest face-off was triggered last Thursday when members of one of the groups went to the home of one of the suspects currently on the run, whose father was said to belong to one of the warring groups to resolve some money related issues.
It was learnt that while they were settling the issue, the suspect went upstairs to fetch a pump action gun and shot a member of the rival cult group on the leg.
The victim was rushed to the hospital by his colleagues while the suspect fled. Consequently, colleagues of the victim mobilised for reprisal attacks, visiting the homes of members of the rival group.
It was learnt that the attack led to the killing of a colleague of the suspect who started the shooting at New Benin. As expected, the cult war escalated. There were killings in Idu Owena, after Ugbowo, Isihor, Ugbiyoko, Textile Mill Road, New Benin and Igbesanwa.
Vanguard was reliably informed that no fewer than 20 persons have been killed so far. As a result, night life in Benin City has been affected as people no longer relax in bars in the evenings due to fear of being attacked by the rampaging cultists.
Oshiomhole summons security meeting
Worried by the development, it was learnt that Governor Adams Oshiomhole convened an emergency security meeting last Friday, asking security operatives to fish out the killers. Vanguard learnt that about 10 persons have been arrested so far while efforts were on towards finding a peaceful resolution to the crisis.
The Edo State Police Commissioner, Mr Folounsho Adebanjo, who could not confirm the casualty figure, described the killings as unacceptable and vowed that the police would deal with the situation.
According to him, “we are not relaxing at all. We are in search of the leaders behind this. Some persons have been arrested while some are on the run. The killings will stop because our officers are all on the alert now. I can assure you that anybody arrested will be dealt with very seriously.
“All security agencies in the state are concerned. The governor is equally concerned, residents of the state are concerned. So we will not relent until we stop this madness. It is very sad that people no longer value human lives.”