By Ugochukwu Alaribe & Ozioruva Aliu
UMUAHIA — Two persons have been confirmed dead in a shootout between the police and suspected cultists, at Ndiegoro Community, in Aba South Local Government Area of Abia State.
Vanguard gathered that the suspected cultists had blocked a police patrol team from the Ndiegoro Division in the area, which led to a shootout between the two groups.
In the ensuing gun duel, a police inspector from the Ndiegoro Division was killed, while two of the cultists were shot dead.
Police sources said that the suspected cultists, who engaged the police in the shootout, were members of the Eastern Security Network, ESN.
The source said that the hoodlums killed the Police Inspector and injured others, but also lost two of their own members. They made away with one AK-47 rifle, belonging to the slain police inspector.
“The Police officer, who was killed by the hoodlums was on routine patrol duty with his colleagues on Umuanyogu Street, Iheorji Ohanku Road, Aba when the hoodlums, who were over 200 chanting war-like songs blocked their Patrol van singing about Biafra.
“It’s bad that when the Police are killed, nobody talks about it but when a citizen, who attacked the Police dies in the act. people rise against the Police and call them all sorts of names.”
A resident of the Iheorji community, however, told Vanguard that the incident occurred when some police officers from the Ndiegoro Police Division were allegedly extorting motorists and some drug dealers in the area before a disagreement came up leading to a shootout.
“Remember that this same incident happened in 2018 in the same Ndiegoro Division when a police officer was killed and police came to Ndiegoro areas like Okojombo, Ntueke and other streets burning properties and destroying lives.
“They usually come to criminal drug areas here to collect money and when they have disagreements, it leads to such killings and this one, I learnt it was between them and some Aro cultists, who we know have taken control of Ndiegoro area for some years now.
“This place is under-policed. Only one police station oversees the whole neighbourhood in Aba. What do we expect? Why must Ndiegoro Police Division be having such problems all the time? Something must be done,” the resident said.
Contacted, Abia State Police Public Relations Office, Geoffrey Ogbonna, explained that the hoodlums were suspected members of ESN.
This is, however, contrary to the account of the incident by residents of the area.
4 killed in Benin City
Meanwhile, after what looked like a respite, a renewed cult clash in Benin City, Edo State, said to have started last Sunday, has claimed the lives of four persons around Erediauwa, a road linking Sapele and Sokponba roads, in Benin City.
Investigation showed that what led to the clash was a case of mistaken identity, as it was gathered that there was an issue between Black Axe, also called Aiye, and Vikings, also called Arobaga, around Ekosodin Area of Benin City and that, in the process, a member of the Eiye Confraternity was killed, mistaking him for a member of Aiye and this led to the clash between members of Eiye and Vikings in the Erediauwa area.
A resident in the area, said: “The killing started on Sunday. One was killed on the street, before Osaze Odewengie’s guest house, by the left-hand side if you enter the street from Upper Sokponba near a brothel. Another was killed at Eriaria around a pure water factory, that is where the family stays and I heard he is the only child. The other two were also killed within the same area. The clash was between Eiye and Arobaga cult groups.”
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Chidi Nwabuzor said he was not aware of the clash yet but was awaiting a briefing
As press time, it was gathered that leaders of the various confraternities under a rainbow coalition were trying to resolve the issues.
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