From Joe Effiong, Uyo
Some semblance of peace has returned to the Anua/Nsukara Offot axis of Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, after four people were sacrificed, according to the police, and a dozen others arrested in a bloody cult war masterminded by rival gangsters.
Daily Sun learned from the state police command that only four people were killed in the three-day war, even as the locals claimed that not less then 15 people, mostly cultists, were slaughtered in the clash between rival cult groups at the Anua Offot area of Use Offot on Nwaniba Road in Uyo LGA.
Unconfirmed reports had it that the two cult groups in the centre of the bloody clash were Klaans and Black Axe confraternities, and the bones of contention were the control of bus park and toll collection.
It was gathered that many of the parks and ticket sales in Uyo metropolis and even beyond are in the control of different cult groups who are rewarded with such endeavours for different categories of support to politicians since 2007. Though the fracas, it was learnt, started in Idu, the headquarters of Uruan LGA, it later spread to Use Offot, Ekpri Nsukara, Anua and Oniong communities in Uyo LGA.
The state police command, in a press release signed by its public relations officer in the state, Mr Odiko Macdon, said: “The Commissioner of Police, Akwa Ibom State Police Command, Olatoye Durosinmi, is miffed at the disruption of public order and safety by two rival cult groups at Anua Offot and Use Offot, both at Nwaniba in Uyo LGA, leading to the loss of four lives.”
“The CP condemns, in strong terms, the wanton destruction of lives, and has vowed to bring the perpetrators to book. Hence, he has deployed tactical resources to restore order and fish out perpetrators.
“The CP calls on residents of the said communities and Uyo to go about their lawful businesses without fear of molestation, and be assured of their safety because of strategies put in place. He has sent a clear warning to perpetrators of these dastardly acts to desist, forthwith, or face the dire consequences of their actions,” the release said.
The police later on followed up with a message still from the PPRO that a total of 65 people have so far been arrested in the cult clash.
It said: “A proper screening will be done. Those found culpable will be charged to court while those not connected to the crisis will be let go. Some are already helping the police with useful information.
We urge residents to remain vigilant and go about their normal businesses, as normalcy is being restored,” MacDon said.
A visit to Ekpri Nsukara and Anua showed heavy presence of security operatives, even as those who had fled the areas have yet to return.
A lady, who works in the University of Uyo as a non academic staff member, who also lives in the community, said she now shuttles from Itam in Itu LGA to work.
“I wouldn’t wait for my rent to expire. I’m searching for accommodation far away from those communities, including Ikpa Road because cults headquarters are also there because of the town campus of the university. I can’t become a victim of what I don’t know,” he said, but pleaded to remain anonymous.