Death toll in cult related clashes in Benin has rised to 37 in the past few weeks, findings revealed on Sunday.
The cult war said to be between members of the Vikings and Aye confraternities have continued with the latest being the killing yesterday of three persons by suspected cultists.
On Saturday, two dead bodies were found around Uselu while three were found in Evidence Street by Isihor.
Before then, tens of people have been killed in several parts of the city including Idogbo, Y-Junction, Nomayo, Three House all along Sokponba Road, while two were killed in Urohra Junction and one by pipeline junction in Eyaen.
Other areas where killings have taken place are Ogida Barracks, Siluko road, Constain area in New Benin, Aduwawa near Oando filling station, Upper Mission, near Ewa Road junction. Cherubim and Seraphim area of Upper Mission, while armed robbery is a daily occurrence all over the city.
Following the escalation of cult related killings and armed robbery incidents in the state, palpable tension and fear has continue to grip residents in several parts of the city.
Meanwhile, due to rise in armed robbery, some residents have constituted themselves into securing their lives and mete out instant justice to suspected thieves.
Two suspected thieves were caught last week along Sokponba road and were killed and burnt. Another was caught by Omoruyi off Sapele Road and beaten to a pulp.
Some young people in Amagba have formed a guard around the area screening all vehicles going and coming out of the place.
One of the youths said, “We will not wait for the miscreants and hoodlums who had made Upper Sokponba and other affected areas of Benin inhabitable to bring their lawlessness into our community.
“We have resolved to join our vigilante group to patrol, check, and monitor the security situation in our community and we will make sure that Amagba is safe for all.”
Piqued by the upsurge, the police have called for information from the public to recover stolen arms and ammunition from police stations that were destroyed and burnt in the state.
When contacted, the Commissioner of Police, Edo State, Babatunde Johnson Kokumo said the attack on police facilities, burning of police stations and patrol vehicles during the EndSARS protests that turned violent have affected their operations but that gradually they would come back to their normal duty of checking crime and criminality in the state.
He said, “Take for instance Upper Sokponba in Ikpoba-Okha axis, three police facilities were burnt down displacing the DPOs and other police officers in these divisions. These officers now report at the state command headquarters, we now send them on patrol from there so you should expect some hitches but we will continue to work and get things right.
“The EndSARS protest which was hijacked by hoodlums has actually impacted negatively on police operations and unleashed attacks on police facilities. How do you expect where 2000 inmates escaped for things to be normal? We were doing our best to arrest the criminals in Edo before the jail break and we are equally trying our best to see that the escapees are re-arrested and brought to book.
“The media should also appreciate our efforts, it is not all the time you condemn police. Is there any magic we can do without vehicles, without arms and ammunition? All these arms and ammunitions were carted away under the eyes of some people, some people are having information about these and they are not giving us the information, let those who have such information give us so that we can go after them.”