A teenager and four other persons have been killed in a bloody clash between two rival cult groups – Icelanders and Bobos in Amarata area of Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital.
The death of the teenager, whose name was given only as Tariebi, popularly known as Kim, had thrown the entire community into mourning. His father is from Bayelsa while the mother is from Rivers.
According to some residents, the bloody cult clashes in the state capital, which began two weeks ago, had made mockery of the attempts by the state government through the Office of the State Vigilance Service to promote peaceful coexistence among the cult groups in the state.
It was learnt that the 17-year-old boy, who was shot in the head by suspected members of one of the cult groups on Tuesday evening along the Apex Academy Road in Amarata, was not a member of any of the cult groups.
Tariebi was allegedly murdered when he went to buy foodstuffs for his family in the area.
A resident, who pleaded anonymity, told our correspondent that Tariebi was a humble boy loved by many, but was unfortunately caught in the shootout between the two warring cult groups.
The resident said, “A commercial tricycle was sighted entering the street about 7.30pm with three boys inside. And the next thing residents heard was a stacatto of gunshots. By the time people went to check, the corpse of the boy was lying in his pool of blood. Four other persons were also killed during the clash.
“If you visit the Apex Academy road, residents are still grieving. Most residents have contributed some money to assist in the burial of the boy. Though the police came for the corpse, they later brought it back for the family to bury it properly.”
Some of the suspected warring cultists have reportedly moved into hiding but occasionally come out to launch attacks on their rivals.
A source in the office of the State Vigilance Service revealed that there was an ongoing effort to reach out to the leaders of the various cult groups for them to sheathe their swords and resolve whatever issues that might have sparked the violence.
The source, who did not want to be mentioned for security reasons, said: “Records show that past efforts by the successive administrations in the state to resolve cult activities failed due to failed leadership control, high consumption of drugs, lack of proper education, political interference and poverty.”
Spokesman for the Bayelsa State Police Command, Asinin Butswat, confirmed the clash.
He, however, said report available showed that only two deaths were recorded.
Butswat, a Superintendent of Police, said the police command had commenced investigation into the cult clash at Amarata and some other places in the state capital.
“The leaders of the cult groups have been identified and efforts are underway to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators,” he said.