In the last five days, residents of the two local government areas in Cross River , Calabar south and Calabar municipal have been sleeping with their eyes open while others have to move to neighboring local government areas for fear of cults activities.
Unlike other clash between cult groups in the state in the past, the one of last week brought new dimension to the cult clash as cult members identified themselves openly and exerting their powers by wielding dangerous weapons such as guns, knives, iron rods, charms and walked round with some of them unmasked.
The cult operations before now had been in the cover of the night but the dimension has changed. In the last five days cult operations had been in the day as they unleashed mayhem on innocent people. The police was helpless. Tension was high as not fewer than five persons were allegedly murdered before their parents and family members.
The clash was between two cult groups: Vikings and the KK. The rampaging youths aged between 15 and 25 were seen moving in groups of 10, 20 and 50 armed with machetes, guns, axes and other dangerous weapons, shouting war songs, as well as looting people’s shops and vandalizing vehicles parked on roadsides.
Security sources said that no fewer than 15 vehicles were vandalized, looted and destroyed before the eyes of their owners who were watching the incidents at a distance. The clashes, this time around concentrated on Goldie, Mount Zion, White House, Anantigha streets and Calabar road axis of Calabar-South, thereby leaving most of the residents living in fear.
These rival cult groups clashed at a child dedication ceremony last Sunday. The real cause of the street fight may not be unconnected with the outcome of last Saturday local government congresses of the PDP. The two cult groups had a long history of rivalry at party primaries, congress or general elections as each group always fields candidates.
It was learn that on Sunday night, a young man suspected to be a member of one of the groups was killed along Beecroft Street, while on Monday evening, another young man was killed along Mayne Avenue in what seemed to be a reprisal attack.
Again, in the afternoon of that same last Monday, some hoodlums belonging to rival camps descended on innocent people in streets like Anating, Palm, Academy, Webber, and Nelson Mandela, Atu and White House in an open confrontation, causing pandemonium in the area. A group suspected to be junior members of the KK, which goes by the name Mafs, broke into the house of Mr. Frank Inyang, an assistant director in the ministry of information, whose wife gave birth few weeks ago, destroyed all the home appliances and almost killed his brother, who only survived because he escaped through the window.
At Nelson Mandela, opposite the famous Luna Night club, the cult group attacked an elderly man, who operates a shop, collected his handset and the money he made from sales. They also inflicted machete cuts on him. He said the group, numbering over 50, armed with guns, axes, cutlasses and other dangerous weapons, took advantage of the black out in the area to attack unsuspecting residents and shot sporadically.
According a source, the cult war between the cadet wing of Vikings, known as Skylo and the Mafs, had left about five persons dead, including the father of a suspected member of one of the groups living on Beecroft Street in the state capital. The groups also destroyed vehicles belonging to innocent motorists at different locations in the state capital.
Meanwhile, Inyang said that the police was on top of the situation and had arrested some of the leaders of one of the groups, who he said had made useful statement to the police force. Following cult clashes security has been strengthened in the city, especially at night.
The several truckloads of armed police officers and men are now patrolling the city at night, especially flashpoints in Calabar South. Police spokesperson Hogan Bassey said they would do everything they could to run the cult members out of town.
Mr. Hogan Bassey, an assistant superintendent of police, put the number of casualties at two. He confirmed that the clashes were between the Vikings and the KK.
The state governor, Liyel Imoke, had in the last four years tried to stamp out cultism in the state, but the ongoing Peoples Democratic Party congresses seemed to have renewed rivalry within the different cult groups. The groups are said to be fighting over the control of the party, especially at the local government levels.