No fewer than 25 people have been killed in cult-related clashes between rival criminal gangs in Ayati Community, Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State.
Remember cult clash began over the weekend, when 22 people were killed in the Chito and Tyo Akosu towns of the state’s Ukum Local Government Area as a result of a deadly clash between the ‘Chain Gang’ and ‘Full Fire’ factions.
According to a source in the region who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the cult clash spread to Ayati on Sunday evening, killing three more alleged gang members.
He said, “We learned that the attack in Ayati at a gathering that claimed three lives on Sunday evening was an extension of the fight that started at the weekend in Chito and Tyo Akosu. The fact is that no one knows who is who among our youths. And we cannot tell who is sympathetic to which group and who is not.
“That is why the fight is getting messier, and they are killing human beings as if they are animals.”
In response to the death as a result of the cult clash, Mr. Ezra Nyiyongo, the legislator for Ukum State Constituency in the State House of Assembly, said it was time for the state government to step up its plan to address cult-related problems in the state.
The lawmaker stated that the deaths from the cult clash “is not too far from what has been happening. We have had that problem well before now. It has taken different turns and twists, but generally, we have security challenges.
“You were aware when the serving Commissioner for Information, Matthew Aboh, was picked. One of our elder statesmen was picked, and he later died in their hands. So, we have been having these reoccurrences. You will hear that today, 24 people were killed; other times, 11 were killed, and it keeps happening every other day.
“You will sympathize with my people in Ukum and, by extension, Benue State. We, as a government, need to step up our strategy. I am particularly pained, and I believe the government is looking into it critically. At my end, the options I have are limited for now, but I think I will meet with the executive over the matter.
“As a legislator, I have reported it to my Speaker, and we will take it up with the Governor, and I believe we will make headway sooner or later. I believe the governor, during our electioneering campaigns, promised to do everything to bring peace, even if it meant bringing the carrot approach to the so-called boys in the bush.
“And I believe that it will take time because you have to start planning where you take them, and if the Federal Government accepts to forgive them, all is a process that I believe is ongoing. In the interim, I feel pained, and sometimes I am ashamed because if it were external aggressors that are attacking us, then you can say there is a breakdown of law and order, but here we have a case where the same brothers from the same mother and father are pointing guns at each other. Who is going to report who? This is the situation I am facing. It is devastating. It is really terrible.”