Tension has gripped Sapele residents in Sapele Local Government Area of Delta State following renewed rival cult war that has led to the death of 3 suspected cultists.
ADVOCATE reports that the situation has forced many residents to start relocating to neighbouring Jesse and Mosogar communities in Ethiope West Local Government Area for fear of been caught up in the crossfire.
One of the latest victims of the supremacy battle between Aro-Baga and Eiye cult groups which has enveloped parts of Delta State in recent time is 26 years old Aghogho Destiny, who was shot and killed last night at the Mission road in Sapele, the third in two days.
ADVOCATE gathered that Aghogho was shot last night while standing at Cemetery road by Ogodo road, at about 9 pm by gunmen suspected to be cultist who came in their Toyota Corolla, the same car some residents noted to have been connected to the recent killings in the town, “each time that car, Toyota Corolla grey colour with tinted glass enters Sapele, someone must die,” one of them told our reporter.
It was further gathered that two persons were shot on Saturday night, one dead, while the other was lucky to have escaped, though maimed.
The identity of the victim of Saturday attack could not be ascertained as at the time of going to press, however, he was said to have died from gunshot wounds on the way to the hospital, while Odirin, who was also shot is presently battling for life at the Delta State Teaching Hospital, Oghara.
A source who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the two men were standing along Cemetery road by Ogodo road, when the gunmen in their Toyota Corolla drove by, shooting at them before the car sped away. The gunmen were reported to have bravely driven to the hospital where the deceased body was taken to, to confirm if he was still alive, before shooting into the air on their way out.
On the same night, one Godstime was shot along Shell Road over same cult-related issues, he was said to have died before medical help could come his way. Last week, the life of one Joseph, a 29 years old man was cut short along Yoruba road of the town as he boarded a motorcycle.
There have also been reported cases of shooting in the town with injuries especially along Shell road, Mission road and Urban area part of the town, a distraught old man, Akpojevwe Rolland, narrated to our correspondent how an 11-years old boy lost his sight after he was caught in gunfire.
He said the gunmen had attacked a victim along Shell road and were shooting at the man who was running away when his son was caught in the crossfire, “the innocent boy was shot in the eye and as I speak to you the teenager has lost his sight.”
“We can’t run away from our home, where do we go to, because Sapele is now like cowboy films where shooting takes place everyday unchallenged by the security agencies,” a panicky resident told ADVOCATE.
While residents of the town have continued to lament, Ajere Ukobi, an automobile mechanic said he is thinking of relocating his family to Warri, adding that Sapele was no longer safe.
The Chairman of Sapele Local Government, Chief Eugene Inoaghan was said to have reorganized the vigilante group, last week Thursday, in an effort to make it more effective, but a police source, who begged not to be mentioned, said the issue of curbing cultism was beyond vigilante.
According to him, “the police in terms of logistics is zero, the only vehicle, the Orodje of Okpe donated to us is the only one functioning, the Hilux Ugborhen community donated to us is in bad shape and we have made several appeals without success.”
The Senior Special Assistant on Security, Sunny Nwakego while condemning the actions of the cultist who have turned Sapele to a war zone, explained that they are doing everything to curb the issue of cultism in the state.
He also appealed to residents of the town to be calm that peace will soon return to the town.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Delta State Police Command, CSP Onome Onowakpoyeya while confirming the report said, the police was doing everything possible to arrest the ugly trend.
“We have intensified surveillance and patrol in all of these areas and soon the culprits will be brought to book,” said the Police image-maker.