By Magnus Effiong
As the supremacy battle among different cult groups in Calabar seems to defy all peaceful resolution, three persons, believed to be cult members, have been hacked to death between Friday and Saturday.
Those brutally killed included a former chapter Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Ekpenyong Okom, and two others identified as Joe Steve and Bong.
Reports say while Joe Steve met his death at Iboku street along Mbukpa Road on Friday, Bong fell at Bassey Street (Ekpo Abasi axis) of Calabar South, same day. The PDP man, Okom, was killed on Saturday by 8pm at a drinking joint along Akai Efa in Calabar municipality.
Speaking on phone over the killing, the State Security Adviser (South) Chief Ani Esin, said “I am aware of the clash which occurred on Friday in which two persons were gunned down. The incident occurred at St Mary Street off Ekpo Abasi and Iboku Street by Ikom Street in Mbukpa axis. The cult groups trailed their suspects and hacked them down.
“When I spoke with the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), he confirmed that two suspected cultists were indeed gunned down. The incident occurred between the Klanx and Axe members. The victims are one Klanx and one Axe.
“The community assisted in arresting one of the suspects at the scene and handed him over to the Mbukpa Police Station. Those who are already there should find ways to leave the cult groups. It doesn’t pay to belong to cult,” he advised.
On the killing of the former PDP Chairman, he said “The victim was a former chapter chairman of PDP in Odukpani. He was murdered on Saturday by 8pm. He was shot and died on the spot, and was suspected to be a member of Klanz. He was gunned down by suspected members of Axe. The cults operation is not only in Calabar but in Bakassi, Okukpani and its environs.”
The Special Adviser on Anti-Cultism, Apst Steve Umoh, who also spoke, lamented incessant clashes among different cult groups in the State, and appealed to them to sheath their swords.
“Leaders and members of nocturnal fraternities in the Calabar South and Calabar Municipality should seek the path of peace and love, rather than wasting the lives of youths and adults in the society all in the name of cultism.
“We should all support the industrialization and doggedness of the administration of Sir Ben Ayade by creating a peaceful atmosphere for investors to settle rather than shed blood on daily basis,” he stated.
He disclosed that his unit has consulted the State Commissioner of Police, Head Of Anticultism/Kidnapping Unit, DPO of various security units amongst others to solicit enhanced security patrol/coverage around the troubled regions.
A resident of Mbukpa area, who preferred anonymity, wondered why one of the murdered suspected cultist, could join any cult, noting “Bong wasn’t violent while growing up. He was my class mate at Hope Waddel. Now the way of survival in Calabar South demands you join cult and it’s still the way to early grave.”