BY Eyo Charles

Suspected cultists numbering over 50, armed with axes, shotguns and machetes have destroyed properties worth ten million naira after killing five persons in Akpabuyo LGA of Cross River State. The incident happened on Sunday in the Forestry area of the council.

Nocturnal groups whose identities were given as Skylo and Scorpion operating in the area are reported to be responsible for the mayhem. A witness said both groups reportedly exchanged gunfire at the forestry checkpoint in Akpabuyo. Presently, the area remains deserted as petty businesses have since closed shops as a result of the development. It was alleged that members of the Scorpion gang ignited the friction that led to the face-off with Skylo group.

“Five persons were reportedly gunned down during the clash while properties worth ten million naira were destroyed. Both groups are suspected to have butchered five of their members”, the witness said. He said it was also suspected that remnants of the dreaded Bakassi Strike Force have stepped into the face-off after directing both groups to a ceasefire without success. “After the ultimatum given by the former militants expired, some armed men suspected to be militants invaded the area with a view to clearing the suspected cult groups and clean the local government area of cultists”, the witness further said.

The Security Adviser to Governor Ben Ayade (South), Ani Esin said “We have some cult-related clashes in Akpabuyo Local Government Area of the State which degenerated into communal differences and we are trying to see what we can do to curtail it. We will handle the cult issue first, and then go into communal differences”. The Permanent Secretary, Governor’s Office, in charge of Security, Dr Alfred Mboto also lamented the situation saying “Yesterday, when I got distress calls, I immediately called the Commissioner of Police and the Brigade Commander. They sent security personnel to the area to maintain law and order.”

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