Tony Osauzo, Benin
The rivalry between cult groups in Benin City and adjoing communities, degenerated yesterday, resulting in the shooting of an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) in charge of one of the Area Commands in Benin and two other policemen.
They were reportedly shot in the early hours of yesterday at Murtala Muhammed (MM) Way, close to Third East Circular road junction near Sokponba road.
Several people reportedly sustained gunshot injuries during the shooting incident.
Besides, 18 persons have been reportedly killed between Monday and Friday (yesterday) during the bloody clashes between the rival cult groups.
Following the tense situation in Benin, soldiers have been deployed to the troubled areas of Upper Sokponba, Idogbo, Three House Junction and adjoining locations where residents are fleeing their homes because of bloody attacks of the cult groups.
It was learn that one of the key actors of one of the rival cult confraternity was scheduled for burial yesterday, a development that attracted who is who in the confraternity.
According to sources, the ACP and the two other police officers were said to have been shot moments the hoodlums sighted his team on rescue mission to the troubled MM Way, Upper Sakponba, Idogbo and Ugbekun areas regarded as a den of the illegal groups.
At the time of this report, the Policemen and others injured were said to have been rushed to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital and other nearby hospitals for treatment.
The activities of the rival cult groups were said to have also taken toll on Ekenwan area, Siluko, Wire road, Dumez, Texile Mill, New Benin, Ogida Quarters, Ogbe Quarters and Ibiwe Quarters of the state capital.
Consequently, five markets, several shops, banks, public and private schools, were shut yesterday morning, particularly in Upper Sokponba area.
Parents reportedly rushed to the various schools to take their wards home moments the troubled atmosphere became charged with endless shootings yesterday.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Johnson Kokumo and the Police Public Relations Officer SP Chidi Nwabuzor, would not however respond to calls when contacted yesterday.