At least seven persons have been reportedly killed and one beheaded during a bloody rival cult clash in the North Bank area of Makurdi town.

The clash was said to have erupted Friday afternoon at the North Bank Market, near the Nigerian Army School of Military Engineering, NASME, following a minor disagreement between two members of the rival red and black cult gangs which later escalated into a bloody fight.

According to the eyewitness who spoke on condition of anonymity, “it all started when a member of one of the cult group came to North Bank Market, just close to NASME to purchase something. Members of a rival gang saw him and harassed him, so he went back and told his friends, and they came back to fight. That is how the whole issue started.

“And before anybody knew what was happening, they turned the market into a war zone traders had to close their businesses and flee for their lives.

“The fight continues till Saturday because they went hunting members of rival gangs. Anyone they caught was either hacked to death or gunned down. So far seven persons have been confirmed dead in the fight.

“Though calm has return today (Monday) because the Military, Police, DSS, NSCDC and others have moved into the area and they are arresting the suspects.”

The Chairman of North Bank Market, Cibilus Odinaka who confirmed the development, said the market was closed down from Friday as a result of the crisis.

Odinaka who lamented the slow response of security personnel to the crisis said “between that day and today, six persons have been killed. To calm the whole issue, that is a stakeholder thing. But as market leaders, we request that they should provide us security.

“Even if we have six force men, three behind and three in front of the market, it will give the people peace of mind to transact without fear.

“Some time ago this also happened with several deaths and destruction. When you call the soldiers, they will not come. The issue of barrack as far as we are concerned is completely unhelpful. Even the C Division, we don’t have anyone. Their response is usually very very slow.”

Also, the Commander of Operation Shere, and anti-cult group, Nura Umar, who mobilised his team to help quell the crisis, informed that aside the six, one of the victims was beheaded and the severed head taken away.

He said some of the dead also had their hands severed “and there were no injuries. They outrightly killed each other. One of the corpses had the head severed and nobody knows where they took the head to. Even hands were severed.

“From our findings it was a fight between the red and black cult. The red cult killed two, while the black killed four. And there was a commercial motorbike rider who was not a cult member but was killed in the crossfire.

“They also destroyed a house near a school. We learnt that one of the cult boys ran into the house when the rival gang members chased him. And for that reason, they destroyed the house because the owners allowed the boy to escape into their house. All this happened throughout the weekend.

“But today (Monday) we have soldiers, DSS, Police, Hunters and others who are here in North Bank to make arrests and to ensure peace.”

Contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Superintendent, SP, Catherine Anene who confirmed development said “cult activities in North were reported and the Command deployed police officers to take charge. investigation is ongoing. I have no report of the number of the victims.”

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