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Three shot dead in Anambra cult clash

Three youths of Amaokpala community in Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra state were reportedly shot dead in a recent bloody cult war in the area.

The clash was also said to have left scores injured.

One of the survivors, Callistus Okonkwo, a vigilante member, who escaped death by whiskers during the clash, said he was shot during a gun duel and was lucky to had survived after many days in the hospital.

He said he has not been able to fend for his family since after the incident as he could barely walk, recalling how the community assisted in offsetting his medical bills before he was discharged.

He said: “I was eating with my family when I received a call from a colleague asking that I joined them at Lon Vinco Hostel, where I later found out that suspected cultists killed one Ifeanyi Nwafor, leaving him at the pool of his own blood.

“Before local vigilante came to the scene, the chairman of Amaokpala vigilante, Mr. Clifford Nwafor, had put a call to Oko Police Station. So, on our arrival at the scene, people had deserted the hotel for fear of their lives.

“We searched and found the late Ifeanyi lying in one of the rooms in the hostel. He was later taken to hospital by the police when they arrived. The police ordered that we sealed-off the hostel.

“It was in that process that the suspected gang, perhaps, after a tip-off, came back to the scene in a V-Booth E-Class car and opened fire on the vigilante members in the premises, shooting sporadically with sophisticated firearms suofected to be AK47 riffle.

“I was shot first before I took to my heels as our local guns were no match to theirs. All I could remember after the incident was that I woke up to see myself in the hospital, having fainted as a result of loss of much blood.

“It was after the sporadic shooting that we learnt that two other persons, Chidozie Nwafor (Cousin to Ifeanyi and only son of his parents) and one Cyril Ogbonnaya Ozoemena (a vigilante) were equally certified dead from bullet wounds in a nearby hospital”.

Okonkwo blamed lack of equipment and vehicle by the vigilante to the total disintegration of the security outfit, calling for the provision of the needed equipment to help them discharge their work.

Describing the development as embarrassing, the 40-year old man appealled for support to fend for his family, even as he called on security operatives to fish out the perpetrators.

Another resident of the area who pleaded anonymity, alleged that late Ifeanyi Nwafor was a suspected cultist, who, he said, had problem with the fleeing prime suspects, which later degenerated to his death and that of other two persons in the community.

The source regretted that activities of cult group was becoming rife in the area, blaming it on large presence of students and youths. She opined that justice should be done as a deterrent to other persons who might still be indulging in cultism.

“We’re looking up to the chief security officer and traditional ruler of the land, HRH Igwe Cyprian Okeke, to use his office to see that justice is done and perpetrators exposed,” the source added.

Confirming the incident, chairman of Amaokpala vigilante group, Mr. Clifford Nwafor, expressed shock over the incident, noting that such incident had never happened in the community since his 15 years of reign.

While quering the rationale behind youths engagement in cultism, the security chief regretted that such had cost other innocent lives in the process.

He said, “Soon after the incident, I was invited by the Enugwu Ukwu Anti-Cult Unit for a statement, but there has not been any update from the unit since the incident occurred mid-May.

“Gross neglect, including lack of equipment and operational vehicle has been a serious challenge facing the vigilante to perform their duties diligently.

“If we had enough resources, we would have combated the second attack .

“The stipends we are given is nothing to write home about. We use our personal money for logistics whenever there is distress call. Our meagre stipend should be increased so that we can fend for our families.

“We want government to adequately provide us with necessary logistics and equipment for us to perform optimally. Security is the most essential thing that a people need.

“Government should recognise and treat us just the way security personnel are cared for in advanced countries. They should also organise training for members of local vigilante for more efficiency”.

Condemning the latest cult attack at Amaokpala, Nwafor called on parents to caution their children and monitor their activities, while urging other stakeholders to continuously emphasise the dangers of cultism and other related social ills.

Traditional ruler of Amaokpala, Igwe Cyprian Okechukwu Okeke (Udodimma 111 of Amaokpala), also confirmed the incident but declined further comments.

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