Cult groups operating in Aba and cities near the commercial nerve of Abia State have started leaving in droves after the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) declared war on them.
Our correspondent gathered for some years, members of a cult group; “Aro Cult”, a dominant group in Aba have subjected residents of the city, especially those living around Over-Rail, Uratta, Ndiegoro, Obohia, Osisioma and Ogbor-Hill axes of Aba to severe pains.
Sources told The Nation that since the activities of the cultists became pronounced, owners of businesses that thrive mainly in the evening like beer parlors, restaurants, barbing saloons and eateries operate with fear.
The faint hearted amongst them only open for business in the day time and close shop as early as 5pm.
Those who operate till night, including Mr. Raphael Ogbonna, said he cannot count how many times his shop has been invaded and money carted away.
A resident of Frank Road, off Omuma Road, Over-Rail Aba, who does not want his name mentioned, for security reasons said: “These cultists come as early as 6:30-7:00 pm to rob people in their shops, beat them mercilessly, snatch phones, molest girls and do all manner of evil without anyone standing up to them.
“They don’t even cover their faces. My most disturbing worry is that some people on the streets know these people but are afraid to do something because of the way things are here. Our roads are so bad that police cannot access this place with their vehicles.”
But the table seems to have been turned on the cultists over the past one week with many residents reporting over ten of the known dreaded cultists have been killed by an unknown group of non-state actors with their bodies dumped and later evacuated.
It was gathered the most affected areas in the cult activities around Over-Rail are: Ama-Ogbonna, Osusu Road, Omuma Road, Owerri Road, Erondu Road, Ogbonnaya Road, Onitsha Road, Cemetery Road, Onuoha Road, St Philip’s Road, Ikpeamaeze Street, Powerline, NEPA Line, Chief Nwaguru Street, Anglican Street and Charity Street.
Others include: Nnadede Street, Bright Street, Aguata Street, Umeasiegbu Street, Agommuo Street, Oguikpe Street, Urakpa Street, St Eugene Road, Adindu Road, Holy Rosary Street, Sacred Heart Road, Akalanna Road, Azigbo Street, Ibenji Street, Sunday Street, Besi Street, Nise Street, Evurunaobi Street, Apostolic Road and Nwangwa Street.
“The people killing those boys are sending a direct message because their bodies are dumped where the owners will see them and the killings are not done with the fight. None of those killed so far was a stranger to the people of the area. They are known.
“They are well known notorious boys. People are afraid because the killing is definitely not by the police or the army. Many are calling the killers unknown gunmen but I can’t place my hands on their identity,” a resident who craved anonymity told our reporter.
A police source at Aba Area Command Headquarters said that the incident is not hidden.
He confirmed the Command is aware but has not issued any statement on the matter.
The Abia State Police Command Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Mr Geoffrey Ogbonna could not be reached for comments.
When contacted, IPOB spokesman, Emma Powerful, said: “Yes, we decided to remove these groups of cultists and hoodlums destroying IPOB reputations because people of Biafra are calling them IPOB and ESN members but they are not and IPOB want to redeem our respect Biafrans gave to us.
“IPOB is a decent organisation championing the liberation of our great nation Biafra and we don’t want anybody to enforce fictitious activities and calling IPOB names, Again we don’t want our people to be humiliated again by these Vampires created and sponsored by unfortunate politicians in our land.
“Our mandate is to restore Biafra freedom and independence peacefully, not to humiliate our people at all.
“If we still keep quiet watching them continue destroying peaceful movements seeking freedom, time will come. Nobody will believe IPOB and ESN members.
“Anyone involved in destroying our territory will regret their evil actions.”
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