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June 18, 2018

Blood bath in Egbema – Rival Cultists Clash

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No fewer than four people are confirmed dead in Obiakpu Egbema where two rival cult groups clashed.

On Sunday, June 13, 2014 two main cult groups – Degbam and Dewell, which have been contending for supremacy, collided, leaving on their trail, tears and blood.

Virtually the entire village is sacked. The entire town looks like a ghost town with ninety percent of the people fleeing to neighboring towns and cities.

Our reporters said the renewed cult war started at about 6am on Sunday, June 13 when a faction of the group invaded Obiakpu, with sophisticated weapons, shooting and killing.  When the firing subsided, four people were confirmed dead, including one Chief Emmanuel Opara, Akurulo of Egbema.

The attack was believed to be a reprisal hit to revenge the June 10th mayhem at Obiakpu in which some lives were lost and property worth millions of naira destroyed. The aggression was believed to have been carried out by a rival cult group.

Earlier on June 7, cultists dressed in army uniform invaded Nwari village in broad day.  As in most of their violent activities, there were fatalities and  properties were destroyed.

THE LEADER gathered that after every attack, the cultists would retire to the farms belonging to neighbouring communities from where they launch the second phase of their  activities- raping women, both young and old, and harassing farmers.

Like farmers in the North, who no longer access their farms because of Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen, those of Obiakpu no longer go to their farms either to plant or harvest.

Our reporters who were on their way to cover the event were advised at Mmahu not to visit the area,  because “Obiakpu is too hot at the moment.” Those who spoke to us at Mmahu said they are indigenes of Obiakpu taking refuge there.

Efforts were made to reach the traditional ruler or the PG of Obiakpu, but we were told “war is going on there and everybody has fled.”

Our sources said that no suspect has been arrested despite the fact that the cultists are known by the members of the community, and perhaps, the police.

“They (cultists) are above the law; they are untouchables; even the police are afraid of them” a native told THE LEADER.

The people of the community strongly believe that the rival cult groups are being sponsored by some prominent members of the community who arm them with guns, to attack rival political or business opponents.

However, the cultists  also engage in armed robbery and kidnapping from where they raise money to buy sophisticated weapons which they use to unleash terror on innocent people. They blamed unemployment for the increasing number of cultists in their area.

Our reporters said that cult groups are flourishing in various communities of Ohaji/Egbema LGA, killing and maiming people. Apart from Obiakpu, Cult-related killings have been reported in Awarra, Abacheke, Mgbara, Etekwuru, Umorji, etc.

It should be recalled that the Palace of the Traditional Ruler of Ochia Autonomous Community Eze Ekwueme and family homes of prominent members of the community including that of Dr. Vitalis Nwulu were destroyed last year by cultists, who also sacked the village.

Eze Ekwueme, who spoke to journalists, from his hideout lamented that most indigenes of the area were living in exile as a result of the activities of the rampaging cultists.

The traditional ruler lamented that following the activities of these dare devil cultists, his people who are mainly farmers, could no longer feel free and safe to go to their farms. A similar scenario is now playing out at Obiakpu.

“Sadly, cultism is becoming a culture in most communities in Imo state. Often polarized and competing for supremacy and command they have become no less a security risk for our communities”, said an observer.

 

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