20 killed in Edo cult clashes, 10 arrested

The death toll in the Edo State cult clashes has increased to 20, the The PUNCH gathered on Sunday.

Also, the police in the state said they had arrested 10 persons in connection with the hostilities.

Suspected members of Eiye Confraternity and Black Axe have since last Thursday engaged one another in supremacy battle in Benin, the state capital.

Trouble, it was gathered, started last Thursday, when suspected members of the Eiye group went to the home of a member of the Black Axe to resolve issues bordering on money.

It was learnt that while discussions were ongoing, the Black Axe member allegedly brought a Pump Action gun, and shot one of the visitors on the leg.

Following this, friends of the victim later mobilised and went on a reprisal, visiting homes of suspected Black Axe members and attacking them.

The attacks, our correspondent gathered, resulted in the killing of a friend of the suspect, around the New Benin.

However, the fighting between members of the cult groups later escalated, extending to places like Idu Owena, Ugbowo, Isihor, Ugbiyoko, Textile Mill Road and in Igbesanwa with many people reported dead.

Worried by the development, Governor Adams Oshiomhole was said to have convened an emergency security meeting, where he charged security operatives to fish out the killers.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Foluso Adebanjo, who could not confirm the exact number of people killed, described the crisis as unacceptable.

He promised that the police would deal with the culprits.

He said, “We are not relaxing at all. We are in search of the leaders behind these killings. Already, we have arrested some persons in connection with the crisis while others are on the run. The killings will stop because policemen are all on the alert now.

“All security agencies in the state are concerned. The governor is equally concerned and residents of the state are concerned. So, we will not relent in stopping this madness. It is very sad that people no longer value human lives; it is sad.”

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