Police Arrest 36 Suspects Following Cult Clashes in Afikpo South LGA
*As victim narrates how he escaped buried alive
By Victor Nwegede
Ebonyi State Command of Nigeria Police has arrested 36 suspects of the cult clashes in Afikpo South local government area of Ebonyi state.
The Police Public Relations Officer, of the State Command, Loveth Oda said that nine suspects in connection with the recent killings and violence in the affected communities in the area were in police custody and would be prosecuted.
According to the state Police mouthpiece, ‘’though we arrested thirty six of them, but they were screened and nine of them are in detention, investigations are ongoing and more will be arrested “
Relatively, the 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, yesterday has narrated to journalists how he narrowly escaped being buried alive by alleged cult gangs inside a bush in the area.
Recall 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 in the area.
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 digged 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 and 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.
Hear him, “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 went there. Before I could know what was happening, they started heating 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 there one. When they noticed that people have started noticing them, they bundled me into bike and zoomed off and took me to Ekoli at Hon Eni Uduma Chima place where we met a lady who came out and asked me what is the problem and I told her I don’t know, she said no problem and went inside. Later they now took me to Ekoli plantation farm Ibuo where they dug ground and put me and cover me I was inside there suffocating, shouting before they heard footsteps of people coming and they ran away’’
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 disey, 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 beseige us, causing problems because they know that we don’t have some body 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.