From Emmanuel Uzor, Abakaliki
Young men suspected to be members of cult groups attacked football viewers while they were watching yesterday El Clasico clash between Real Madrid and Barcelona in Ebonyi state.
The attackers struck the viewing centre which is located at Onuebonyi area of the town and unleashed mayhem on various victims.
It was gathered that the attackers stormed the centre about 7.30 p.m.,midway into the match’s first half and sat down like other viewers enthralled by the encounter before making for their prey, a second-year student of the Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki.
Another witness and the viewing Centre Operator, Mr John Otubo, noted that the attackers were magnanimous for reducing the impact of their attack considering the number of arms they brandished.
“I watched them brandish two short guns, axes and knives as they went for their target, dragged him out and started using the weapons on him. No one could explain why they did not shoot him as they concentrated on him without attacking any other person or shooting sporadically to elicit stray-bullet incidences,’’ he said.
Otubo, however, said that several viewers were injured during the stampede while they scampered for safety as the viewing was halted.
“Pandemonium set forth as viewers ran in different directions and with the centre having only one entrance, most viewers pulled down the zincs used as makeshift walls at the centre.
“Several viewers were injured in the process, including those who were trampled upon during the stampede as the attackers felt their prey was dead and hurriedly left the scene.
Mr Mark Onu, National President of Akubaraoha Youth Assembly gave cultists in the state an immediate ultimatum to cease their nefarious activities or face dire consequences.
Onu, who is also the governor’s Senior Technical Assistant on Youth Mobilization and Empowerment, urged youths to collaborate with security agencies to fish out cultists wherever they
reside or operate.
“We will not allow any person or groups to disrupt the prevailing peace in the state which is being complemented by the governor’s developmental strides in all sectors,’’ he said.
The town had witnessed renewed cult activities involving three cult groups in EBSU which resulted in the confirmed death of a final year student, Theophilus Onele.
DSP Jude Madu, the state’s Police Public Relations Officer, said on Monday that he had not received the report of the incident but that manhunt on cultists had been intensified.
“The command arrests suspected cultists terrorizing the town on daily basis and after our investigations; they are duly prosecuted to deter others.
“We will continue to appeal to the government, parents, religious bodies and youths among other stakeholders to intensify their campaign against cultism to make the society safe and habitable for all,’’ he said.