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Five feared killed in Cross River cult clash

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Ayade woos investors to invest in state’s superhighway

No fewer than five persons were feared dead and property worth millions of naira destroyed in renewed cult clash at the weekend in Akpabuyo Local Council near Calabar in Cross River State.

The clash was alleged to be between Skylo and Scorpion cult groups in Akpabuyo.

An eyewitness said suspected cultists numbering over 50 armed with axes and locally-made guns were seen shooting sporadically between the maternity hospital and forestry checkpoint in Ikot Offiong Ambi, sending people scampering for safety and shops closed.

He said: “Over five persons were reportedly gunned down during the clash while property worth millions of naira were destroyed and looted.”

It was further learnt that some members of former militant group who were out for peace had given the warring groups few hours ultimatum to cease fire but “when the ultimatum expired, some armed men suspected to be militants invaded the area with a view to clearing the suspected warring cult groups. But by 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, police and army personnel came in to restore peace and order.”

Meanwhile, the Security Adviser to the Governor for South Senatorial, Mr. Ani Esin, said: “We have some cult related clashes in Akpabuyo Local Council of the state, which degenerated into communal differences and we are trying to see what we can do to curtail it. We will handle the cult issue first and then go into communal differences.”

Also, the Permanent Secretary, Governor’s Office, in charge of Security, Dr. Alfred Mboto, said: “When I got distress calls, I immediately called the Commissioner of Police and the Brigade Commander. They sent security personnel to the area to maintain law and order.

“The security men trailed the alleged cultists to a place called Ifondo. The incident was a cult clash and the suspects used the opportunity to rob.”

However, the Chief Security Adviser in Odukpani Council, Mr. Ita Ekanem, has warned that henceforth, any clan head in whose domain communal conflict occurs, will have his stipend stopped and headship removed.
In another development, Cross River State government has urged private investors to key into the state’s industrialisation drive and the 275 kilometres superhighway project.

A statement by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Mr. Christian Ita, yesterday, said the governor made the assertion at the weekend while receiving the President of the Coscharis Group, Dr. Cosmos Maduka.

Ayade, who described the Coscharis boss as “a core investor with credible track record,” said: “The reason Cocharis boss is here in Obudu is to ensure that the specialist hospital here becomes a reality. He is the representative of Siemens and that hospital is going to be equipped by Siemens.

“We want to encourage him to invest in at least 50km to 100km on the superhighway. We want to encourage him to invest in the British-Canadian University we are building.”

Maduka, who said he had always dismissed the project as a facade, hinted that Coscharis, a multi-sectorial conglomerate, would explore the possibility of maximising investment opportunities that abound in Cross River.


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