Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Garba Umar, on Tuesday, said that 16 persons were killed following gun battle between two rival cult groups in Awka, the state capital in two weeks.
CP Umar who made this known while parading 35 suspected cultists arrested in the state in the height of the cult war, decried the growing activities of secret cults in the state.
The Police boss expressed fears that a confession by one of the suspects, that over 90 per cent of youths in Awka, including students, artisans and others were cultists might not be far from the truth.
He, therefore, called on parents, community leaders, religious leaders and the general public to perform their functions by taming their children as the command might commence charging them to court for murder.
Umar also urged them to avail the Police and other law enforcement agencies with useful
information that would aid “the unbundling of criminal acts and tendencies.”
Giving the age range of the suspects as between 20 and 34, Umar said the suspects engaged in other forms of criminal activities such as armed robbery, extortion and housebreaking.
According to him, the ring leaders of the arrested suspects are Chukwudi Machie, 34, Chukwudi Igwegbe, 32, Onyeka Ibanugo, 28, Ifeanyi Anazodo, 28 and Chukwuemeka Nwokoye, 32.
He further said, “The aforementioned suspects confessed to be members of black axe/vickings fraternity and have direct link with the ongoing cult activities in Awka and the alleged murder of several persons.
“It would be recalled that in the past few days, activities of secret cults in the
State has taken an alarming dimension following a fierce battle of supremacy between rival cult groups leading to loss of lives and wanton destruction of properties.
“These dastardly acts perpetrated by misguided youths usually under the influence of hard drugs use offensive weapons such as guns, machetes, knives and so on to intimidate, assault, maim and even kill their perceived rivals including innocent citizens in the State.
“Worried by these emergent trends of criminality and other nefarious activities, the command under my watch has reviewed its crime prevention strategies and embarked on intensive patrol, aggressive raid of black spots/ flash points and other criminal hideouts in order to nip in the bud all forms of crime and criminality in the state.”
The Police Commissioner said cult members belonging to different sect groups were arrested from various black spots within the state particularly in Awka, Obosi, Enugu-Ukwu and Okija.
Some of the items recovered from the suspects include: one AK 47 rifle; one English Bareta Pistol; two locally made double barrel Pistols; one Single Barrel short gun ,fifteen rounds of 7.62 live ammunition; three cartridges and a red Toyota Matrix Car with Reg. No EKY 879 EN snatched from one Evbadolovi Omorogbe at Benin City, Edo State.