Alexander Okere, Benin
No fewer than five persons have been reportedly killed, following a renewed cult war between rival groups around Auchi Polytechnic, Ekpoma, in Esan South-West Local Government of Edo State.
It was learnt that the victims were killed in different locations during a violent clash between the Black Axe and Viking confraternity.
It was gathered that the incident occurred shortly after the completion of examinations for the 2016 session in the institution last Thursday.
One of the victims was reportedly killed in front of a construction company on the Benin-Auchi-Okene expressway; while two others were shot dead behind the School of Engineering of the polytechnic and around Sabo area, respectively.
It was gathered that a disagreement had ensued last Friday between the two groups at the graduation party of an unnamed student.
When contacted on Sunday, the Commissioner of Police, Haliru Gwandu, confirmed the death of two persons during the clashes between the rival cult groups.
Gwandu also disclosed that the leaders of the groups had been arrested and were assisting the police in their investigation.
The commissioner, who said that the incident occurred outside the polytechnic, also stated that an axe was recovered by the police command.
He said, “It is just two persons (dead); the first Black Axe person killed a member of Vikings and a member of Vikings retaliated and we have apprehended the kingpins of the two and they are helping in investigations. And the killings were done outside the campus. We went off campus and met them.
“On the issue of Auchi Polytechnic, it all started on November 26, where a member of Black Axe cult group went and killed an opponent of Vikings cult group. And like I always say, in any conference, the students are living in the academic environment and they find that the security unit of the polytechnic or any institution has to raise the alarm to invite the police. It is only when we are invited that we enter into the campus.”
He added, “An axe was also recovered from him and not only one person, both sides; we were able to apprehend the kingpins of that rival cults madness. So, the matter is under investigation. I would not want to mention names because it can halt the process of investigation.
“But as it is now, both the Black Axe cult group and the Vikings cult group, we have their kingpins and they are helping the investigation. I am sure by the middle of this week, we will be able to make more arrests and restore sanity to the whole situation.”
Gwandu, who stated that cult clashes had become a regular occurrence in the area, called on academic institutions to ensure that persons offered admission were of good character.
He added, “According to the intelligence I received, any time students are closing in the institution, it has become ritual for them to engage in cult-related fight and eventually they experience casualties”
“I assured all and sundry that as long as I am the commissioner of police in the state, nothing would be left to chance and no stone will be left unturned. We will do everything humanly possible to ensure that such misguided elements, unscrupulous elements, socio-sycophantic and disorderly type of students, who carry activities like these, will be apprehended and charged to court.”
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Alexander Okere, Benin