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Seven Die In Rival Cult Clash In Benue

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A violent clash between rival cult factions has resulted in the deaths of at least seven individuals, with one of them beheaded in the North Bank region of Makurdi town, Naija News learnt.

Reports revealed that the conflict initially began last Friday at the North Bank Market, located close to the Nigerian Army School of Military Engineering (NASME), following a minor dispute between two members of the rival Red and Black cult groups.

Unfortunately, the situation quickly escalated into a brutal confrontation.

An eyewitness who confirmed the incident to journalists on condition of anonymity revealed that the bloody incident unfolded when a member of one of the cult factions arrived at the North Bank Market, near NASME, intending to make a purchase.

“Members of a rival gang saw him and harassed him, so he went back and told his friends, and they came back for a fight. That was how the whole thing started.

“And before anybody knew what was happening, they turned the market into a war zone, as traders had to close their businesses and flee.

“The fight continued till Saturday because they went hunting members of a rival gang. Anyone they caught was either hacked to death or gunned down. So far, seven persons have been confirmed dead in the fight.

“Though calm has returned today (Monday) because the military, Police, DSS, NSCDC and other security operatives have moved into the area and are arresting the suspects,” the eyewitness told Vanguard.

Speaking on the incident, Chairman of North Bank Market, Cibilus Odinaka, told reporters that the market had been shut down since Friday as a result of the crisis, lamenting the slow response by security personnel to the crisis.

He said, “Between that day and today, six persons have been killed. To calm the whole issue, that is a stakeholder thing. But as market leaders, we request that they should provide us security.”

The leader of Operation Shere, an anti-cult organization, Nura Umar, stated that in addition to the six casualties, one victim was decapitated and the head was removed.

He mentioned that some of the deceased individuals had their hands severed as well, with no signs of defensive wounds.

Umar emphasized that the violence resulted in fatalities caused by internal conflict, as evidenced by one body found with a severed head and missing hands.

“From our findings, it was a fight between the Red and Black cults. The Red cult killed two, while the Black killed four. And there was a commercial motorbike rider who was not a cult member but was killed in the crossfire.

“They also destroyed a house near a school. We learnt that one of the cult boys ran into the house when the rival gang members chased him. And for that reason, they destroyed the house because the owners allowed the boy to escape into their house. All this happened through the weekend,” Umar noted.

Confirming the development to journalists, the Police Public Relations Officer, Catherine Anene, said, “cult activities in North were reported, and the command deployed police officers to take charge. An investigation is ongoing. I have no report of the number of the victims.”



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