Judex Okoro, Calabar
The Canaan City in Calabar seems to be gradually turning into a theatre of war as rival fraternal groups have been engaged in a fratricidal war, leading to the killing of about ten persons in the last three weeks.
The victims were said to be members of various cult groups that have engaged in a battle for supremacy in the metropolis, even as the state police command has been on their trial.
The groups have since the general elections been at daggers drawn with one another over issues relating to either killing of former colleagues or resulting from misunderstanding over a minor issue that ordinarily would have been settled amicably, thereby leading to reprisal attacks.
Investigations revealed that while eight lives have been lost in the last three weeks, two were said to have been killed this week.
The latest cult clash was said to be between the Axe and Clans members. Trouble was said to have started following a misunderstanding between the two rival groups and could not be resolved.
It was learnt that the Clans had not been happy with the Axe following alleged killing of one of their boys at Ekpo Abais Street last year.
The victim was said to have been trailed by Axe member to his aluminium workshop where they hacked him down.
Moves to reconcile the groups have been difficult; the crisis was said to have culminated into another clash last week when the Clans launched a reprisal and killed a senior member of Axe, popularly known as Las Born and in retaliation the Axe moved on and allegedly killed a member of Clans
While Las born was trailed by the rival group, Clans, to Mayne Avenue, where he was said to have gone to service his car air conditioner and subsequently killed him, the other unidentified Clans member was monitored to his area at Abasi Edem Street all in Calabar South and was gunned down.
A witness, Ekpo Johnson, said: “About 8:00pm on Saturday, we were just relaxing in one of the joints at Mayne Avenue by Ekpo Abasi and suddenly there was sporadic shooting; people started running in different directions shouting for help. We too took to our heels.
“Within 20 minutes they had finished operations and when I went back to that air condition car workshop, I discovered it was a cult clash between Clans and Axe; the later had launched an attack on Axe, killing Las Born, one of the kingpins.”
When contacted, the State Security Adviser, to Governor Ben Ayade, Mr Ani Esin, told newsmen that “at the resumption of the clash, the security agencies mobilised and moved into action and restored peace in the area.”
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Irene Ugbo, confirmed the clash, but said the police had arrested four suspects and recovered three locally-made pistols.