From: Judex Okoro, Calabar
Tragedy struck in Iso Bendege community of Boki Local Government area of Cross River State as two persons have been allegedly killed and more than 15 houses destroyed following a violent clash between two cults.
The war of supremacy between the two rival groups has forced the residents to flee into bush, leaving a police officer critically injured.
Recently, there have been reported cases of cult clashes across some major cities and local communities, fuelling speculation that cult war in the state is spreading to rural areas ahead of 2019 general election.
The incident, which happened on Thursday night family celebration, resulted from an argument which erupted between members of the groups present at the event.
Saturday Sun investigations revealed that in the course of the argument, one of the kingpins of the leading gang (a.k.a Bendeghe Mafia) slapped Jackie, a member of another local cult, and the latter quickly retaliated by pouncing on the Bendeghe Mafia.
Members of both groups were said to have retreated and later re-surfaced after an hour at the venue in readiness for full scale war, causing pandemonium among residents.
A witness, Ojong Abang, told Saturday Sun that what started as an argument later snowballed into violent clashes leading to killing of two cultists and burning down of houses.
Abang said: “Some members of the community have since gone hiding in the bush with their families for fear of being caught in the crossfire.”
Speaking on the incident, one of the youth leaders, Obogo Jacob, who is taking refuge in Calabar, said the whole community has been deserted, as the residents had run to their relatives in nearby communities for safety.
Reacting, the Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Irene Ugbo, confirmed the outbreak of cult war in the community and the killings. She added that a policeman was shot.