Tony Osauzo, Benin
Violence in Benin City brought about by rival cult gang clashes has continued unabated, with residents waking up Saturday morning to the sight no fewer than 10 corpses littering parts of the Edo State capital.
The fresh killings which occurred between Friday night and Saturday morning have raised the death figure to about 28 persons within one week.
It was a gory sight as bodies of the victims were seen either at the centre or beside the roads and streets of Ibiwe, Uselu, Siluko and Ugbowo areas of the City.
Lifeless bodies of some of the victims were seen at Abaligbe Street junction along the Benin-New Lagos road, Omoruyi Street in Isihor community, where suspected gunmen killed one Kelly Ewemade while another was shot dead at Evidence street in Ugbowo.
Besides, at Oni street junction, off Abaligbe Street and at Oghuru junction in Iguosa along Benin-Lagos expressway, two other bodies were uncovered after the hoodlums struck in the areas.
Similarly, a young boy in his teens was shot along Siluko road while another was hacked to death near Uselu Park, as residents and passersby gathered to watch the ugly scenes of the attacks.
A distraught father of one of the dead victims, Mr Etinosa Osifo, in tears, said “I was in the house yesterday (Friday) when two boys came and called out my son; before I know what was happening they had killed him.
“That was how I saw it. I don’t know who to meet for help over my pains and predicament now. He is gone”.
People now live in fear in Benin, following the raging cult war and an attendant upsurge in killings, just as the situation has led to the closure of business premises, markets, schools and banks, particularly along Upper Sokponba, Ugbekun, Murtala Mohammed Way and Idogbo areas of the State capital.
Besides, the situation has negatively impacted on nightlife in the city, just as many residents are fleeing their homes for fear of attacks
Meanwhile, the State Commissioner of Police, Johnson Kokumo, disclosed yesterday that the Assistant Commissioner of Police and two other policemen who were shot last Thursday in Benin by the warring cultists are recuperating in hospital.
He said escapees from the two correctional centres in the Edo State capital have been sending threat messages to policemen who investigated and prosecuted them leading to their convictions.
The police boss added that his men are working within existing limitations to restore normalcy to the State capital.
‘You can imagine what it means that three police stations along Sokponba road were destroyed and burnt, patrol vehicles destroyed in several other parts of the State capital, all the officers in these stations now operate from the headquarters.
‘The #EndSARS protest was hijacked by hoodlums and it took a violent turn in Edo State and prisoners were set free, what do you expect? Some of these escapees have been sending threat messages to policemen who investigated and prosecuted them, one of the escapees who was convicted for murder went that same day to kill the prosecution witness in his village but he was rearrested immediately.
‘Everybody must be part of the restoration of sanity. People who know these escapees should avail us information about them. But I am assuring you that we are not sleeping but with what has happened to the police in Edo, some of these hitches are expected. But we are not sleeping and we will continue to work.
‘As I speak to you I am on my way to visit three of our personnel, an Assistant Commissioner of Police and two Inspectors who were shot, they are recuperating,’ he said.
In a related development, a medical doctor attached to the Central Hospital, Benin City, has been reportedly shot by gunmen in Benin.
The doctor identified as Dr Maxwell Orosanye, though alive, was shot by Mobil filling station along Siluko road and his Toyota Corolla car snatched from him.