Recurrent Ogun Cult War: Killing Continues Unabated

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The recent violent conflict between Eiye and Aiye rival cult groups in Abeokuta, Ogun State, has become a major source of concern for residents of the state capital and it’s environ. The clash between the rival groups has continued unabated as both groups kill and maim each other in different part of the state.

In the latest clash, no fewer than 10 lives were lost in the state. It was learnt that the previous clashes that occurred after the 2023 general election in Sagamu and Abeokuta claimed about 10 lives.

According to a source, cult wars have been a persistent issue in the state, with several arrests of suspected cultists and the recovery of various types of arms and ammunition.

Genesis

The source said tragedy struck on Sunday night, April 4, 2024, in the Ijeun Tuntun area of the state capital, as some suspected cultists who reportedly came on motorcycles shot dead one Olumide Ifeoluwa, popularly called Tescom. Ifeoluwa, an alleged member of Aiye, a notorious cult group, was murdered at a car wash in the area where he used to stay and relax in the evening.

The deceased was said to have been in the company of some people when his assailant swooped on him and shot him on the head. The source said: “The whole thing happened at around 6 p.m. Tescom, as he was fondly called, was at the car wash, he was always there in the evening to relax with some of his friends. “We heard that those who shot him dead came on motorcycles, and they just went after him and shot him on the head.

The incident really brought fear to the people as they took to their heels, because nobody wants to be caught up in the crisis. “Although those who shot him dead had bolted away immediately, people were afraid that the deceased group might come for a reprisal attack.The police from Ibara Divisional Headquarters came at about 9 p.m. to evacuate his corpse.

It is really disturbing and sad.” Meanwhile, this is coming barely three weeks after popular area boy and a suspected member of the Aye confraternity group, identified as Akeem was shot dead by suspected members of Eiye cult group. Our correspondent gathered that, the Sunday killing was a retaliation to the death of Ifeoluwa.

The first victim, a suspected member of Eiye cult group was shot dead at Alogi junction in Obantoko area of Abeokuta, while the second victim, a member of Aye confraternity group who was identified as Timo Olukayode was killed at Bode-Olude, also in Abeokuta. It was further gathered that Olukayode, was shot while his head was also smashed with a stone.

Also, on April 13, 2024, a group of Aye group and Buccaneer confraternity were killed during a clash involving the cult groups. One Seun Elewode, a member of the aye cult group, was killed during a shootout between rival cult groups in Adeun area of Lafenwa, in the state capital. The deceased was killed around 10:45pm in Oshungboye Crescent and was shot in the chest. It was gathered that he was shot dead during a shootout at their hideout in a cool spot during a birthday party of one of their members.

Meanwhile, it was also gathered that four persons were reportedly killed, while several others sustained various degrees of gunshot injuries during the cult clashes the following day on April 14, 2024. A source said the suspected cultists were reportedly killed in different parts of Abeokuta when members of the rival cult groups engaged one another in clashes.

Those who died were said to include members of Aye, Eiye and Buccaneer confraternities. It was also gathered that the clash started on Saturday when a suspected leader of the Eiye confraternity was shot dead in front of his house in the Ijeja area of the state capital. Four persons was reportedly killed as rival cult groups resumed hostilities in Abeokuta, During the clash, several people were said to have sustained injuries in different parts of the town.

“The clash started on Saturday when a leader of the Eiye cult group, identified as Dare, popularly known as Oloba, was shot dead in front of his house in the Ijeja area of the state metropolis by an individual suspected to be members of the Buccaneer.” In retaliation, another suspected cultist, Tayo Alora, was murdered in the Isabo area of the town on Sunday morning.

He was reported to have been gunned down by his assailants, said a source. “They must have trailed him there, but they really didn’t engage in any disagreement or fight before he was shot. This is really scary; the government should quickly rise up to this before things get out of hand again.” “This is how they always start; the police and other security agencies should please start their work immediately,” said the source.

Daylight clashes

Abeokuta, Ijebu-Ode, Sagamu and other metropolises are gradually becoming ‘battlefields’ where cultists carry out their nefarious activities with no holds barred. This is contrary to days when cultists carried out their deadly clashes at night. A source told our correspondent that last year November, a group of cultists chased a victim on a motorcycle until he was hacked to death at the popular Kuto in Abeokuta around 2:30pm.

Eyewitnesses said that the hoodlums wearing masks and in a convoy of about three bikes had chased the young man from the NNPC under a bridge along Oke Mosan road, to the densely populated Kuto area. Some of the hoodlums got hold of the victim at the Kuto junction while navigating the garage route and hacked him with a machete on the head, leading to pandemonium in the area.

Some traders, okada riders and cab drivers reportedly scampered for safety, just as the suspected cultists were said to have hopped on their bikes and disappeared into thin air. That same day, another young man, simply identified as Alagbole, was killed by the same gang at Elite road, in Abeokuta, in the full glare of traders and passers-by. The cultists threw a section of Abeokuta into confusion by parading the metropolis on about three motorcycles with weapons without any regard for security agents.

64 killed in 2023

Investigations revealed that no fewer than 64 persons were killed in various clashes between cult groups in different parts of the state between 2019 and 2022. Sources told our correspondent that the clashes claimed the lives of innocent residents of the area.

The cultists also reportedly engaged in daylight shooting of their rival cult group members, and in the process stray bullets killed some innocent residents in the area.

Sagamu cult clashes in 2023

Meanwhile, Abeokuta is not only the hot bed for cultists clashes, Sagamu is also not left out in 2023 where several lives were lost in the clash that engulfed the ancient town. It was gathered that the supremacy battle, which started on Friday, was said to have claimed the lives of about 20 young boys, including secondary school students.

Residents of Sagamu, in Sagamu Local Government Area of the state, was living in fear then, while the under listed place are Agbowa behind Ewusi Palace, Makun, Ijagba, Ajaka, Isale Oko and Sabo was the centre of the mindless killings then.

Security expert Mr Bayo Adelani, a security expert told our correspondent that despite efforts of the state government to address the issue of cultists in the state is not yielding expected results, but more efforts is needed to tackle the menace in the society. Adelani said the threats to demolish buildings used by cultists, the attacks still persist unabated, affecting various divisions in the state like Remo, Ijebu, and Egba.

“The recent clashes in the state have resulted in numerous deaths, maimings, and fear among residents. The situation remains volatile and continue arrest of suspected cultists with firearms and charms all these highlights the severity of the ongoing cult conflict in state. “To address the cult war, several new measures have to be taken by the state government and other stakeholders to stamp them out.

It is going to be a collaborative effort, including the local hunters, vigilantes, Kings, Baale and proper orientation program is needed for the youths. All these are to discourage those who are planning to join them, because the issue is a social menace that needs to be treated with urgency. “Ogun State government also need a special court to treat issues related to criminal sects or confraternities, aiming to address cult-related violence and other vices.

“Amnesty program is needed for potential cultists willing to surrender their weapons, providing them with an opportunity to disengage from cult activities, if government is willing to do all these cultism will be a thing of the past in the state.”

Police react

When contacted, spokesperson for Ogun State Police Command, SP Omolola Odutola said the State Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alamutu had advised the cultists troubling the peace of the state to embrace peace and turn to a new leaf.

The CP, she said has vowed that anyone caught belonging to these outlawed cult groups after the amnesty exercise last year would be decisively dealt with as a common criminal.

Ogun State CP, Abiodun Alamutu
Suspected cultists

She explained that, “several suspected cultists have been arrested and the command would continue to clamp down on the outlaw groups in the state until they repent and turn a new leaf.

“Till date we have a total number of 93 suspected cultists from different confraternity groups arrested between March 2023 till date who are currently undergoing prosecution in the state.

New Telegraph

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