Seven persons have been reportedly killed and several others injured after two rival cult groups clashed in Otukpo area of Benue State.
According to eyewitnesses, the crisis started last Saturday close to the Saint Francis College, Otukpo, over power supremacy between two deadly rival cult groups.
The violence later spread to Oiji Street, Sabon-Gari and Ojira areas of the same town.
According to an eyewitness, “It all started like a joke, when some young men were initially throwing fireworks at one another but within a short time, they pulled out guns and it became a serious affair.
“For two days, young men residing around Saint Francis College (Ogwonuigbahapa) Oiji Street, Sabon-Gari and Ojira engaged one another in a battle to take over control of the town.
“They shot at each other in the name of belonging to rival cult groups and people were scampering all over the town for safety for fear of being hit by stray bullets.
“It took the intervention of the Police, who drafted men into Otukpo to check further spread of the crisis, but before then, several persons had been killed while many others sustained bullet injuries.”
Meanwhile, the Secretary General of the Opiatoha K’Idoma, the mother umbrella body of Idoma sons and daughters, Chief Adoka Adaji, has totally condemned the bloody acts as well the resultant killings.
He further appealed to the security agencies to check further escalation of the crisis.
Adaji said: “We condemn in strong terms the cult related crisis in Idoma land which resulted in the killing of over seven persons over the weekend in Otukpo.
“We urge security agencies to take steps to apprehend the mastermind of the crisis and those responsible for recent kidnap incidents in Idoma land before the situation gets out of hand.”
According to the Benue State, Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Assistant Superintendent, ASP, Moses Yamu, the Police confirmed three deaths as at the time of filling this report.
“We can confirm three deaths, another three with gunshot wounds, while eight persons were arrested, four locally make pistols were also recovered,” the Senior officer disclosed.