11 Cultists Arrested For Invading Anambra Hotel With Charms, Dangerous Weapons

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Operatives from Zone 13 Zonal Police Headquarters, Ukpo, have reportedly apprehended 11 members of a suspected cult group accused of terrorizing the Ihembosi community in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State. The arrests were made following an alleged invasion of the premises of Las Vegas Hotels Limited at Ubahu village in the area.

12 members of the group are currently on the run as the police operatives are still trailing them behind.

Their arrests on Monday morning, according to the source, followed a strongly worded petition to the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, AIG incharge of zone 13 Zonal Police Command, Godwin Aghaulor.

The Proprietor of Las Vegas Hotels Limited Ihembosi, Chief Omenife Emeka Onwuatu had through his legal counsel, PJN Azubuike, petitioned the AIG seeking his intervention to curb the menace of the cultists group who he said went to the extreme of invading his hotel on March, 10, this year with about 12 motorcycles, charms, cudgels, cutlasses, axes and other dangerous weapons and terrorized the owners, management and staff of the hotel, threatening to kill anyone at sight.

Onwuatu, Chairman of Ubahu village and Israeli based businessman had earlier warned the group to stop performing rituals in front of the stream in the area and to relocate their shrine to it’s base but his warning did not go down well with the suspects whom he simply identified as idol worshippers to earn their living through rituals.

In the petition dated April 16, 2024 and entitled: “threat to life, cultism, terrorism, ritualism, threat of arson, conspiracy, forcible entry, trial by ordeal, assault, malicious damage and conduct likely to cause breach of peace by the suspected cultists headed by one Okechukwu Agwuncha, the hotel proprietor lamented that during the invasion, the suspects forced open the hotel gate and deposited the charms and jujus at the entrance and premises of the hotel.

According to the petitioner, “they chanted war songs, threatened to burn down the hotel and it’s premises, performed so many incantations and rituals in front of the hotel and it’s premises and passed death sentences on the owners and occupants of our client and thereafter escaped”.

“Before the invasion, the suspects had earlier in the day unlawfully assembled themselves in various locations in the town where they organized and planned the invasion, assembled their weapons, demonstrated their charms, chanted war songs and passed death sentences on the leadership of the community before setting out to invade the hotel premises which they variously threatened to burn down”.

” To make matters worse, the petitioner continued, the suspects captured their atrocities in video and sent into the internet in order to display their impunity and intimidate and over awe the operators and customers of the hotel and put extreme fear in them to force them to abandon the premises or come and negotiate with them”.

“The negative effect of this is that the Managing Director of the hotel, other Directors, Managers and staff, as well as the customers were thrown into extreme fear for their dear lives. While the customers of the hotel at the time of the incident hurriedly checked out, others who heard or saw the incident completely avoided the hotel and cancelled their bookings and the Goodwill of the hotel proprietor and her fortune were maliciously destroyed and damaged”.

Describing the act as an unlawful assembly for unlawful purpose of invading private premises to intimidate and terrorize people therein, the petitioner therefore requested the AIG to use his good offices to apprehend all the members of the gang and recover their tools and implements to bring them to book and nip in the bud their plans to kill the hotel operators and leaders of the community and burn down the premises of Las Vegas Hotels Limited.

Confirming the arrests, the AIG, Aghaulor told newsmen in his office that the police would carry out discreet investigations into the matter to ascertain the motives behind the action, while manhunt had been launched to apprehend the fleeing gangsters.

As at Monday, the day they were arrested, pleas by counsel to the suspects, Ibuchi Ewuzue Esq. for the police to release the suspects on bail was turned down as the Deputy Commissioner of Police incharge of the Zonal Criminal Investigations Department, DC-ZCID who ordered that the suspects should remain in detention until after investigations.

But on Tuesday, the suspects were released on bail by the police based on the intervention of the President General of Ihembosi Town Union, Professor Christopher Chukwuto Ihueze who gave a written undertaking to the AIG that he would do everything possible to resolve the matter amicably and pleaded for time to do that.

The President General who said he shall be burying her stepmother next Saturday was given three weeks to do that or return the released suspects and the others on the run for arraignment in court.

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