Inhabitants of Obiakpu Egbema in Ohaji/Egbema local government area of Imo State have completely deserted the community, following the deadly clash between two rival cult groups, Degbam and Dewell.
Vanguard gathered that apart from the four people reportedly killed, including Chief Emmanuel Opara, property worth millions of Naira were destroyed during the clash.
Our reporter, who made a spirited attempt to reach Obiakpu, was advised at Nmahu, Egbema, by some concerned escapees from the deserted community to abort the trip.
“We are indigenes of Obiakpu. We are only taking refuge in Nmahu. Please don’t attempt going to Obiakpu. The community is very hot and dangerous for you to visit now,” they almost chorused in unison.
According to one of the escapees, who simply identified herself as Nkechi, “Obiakpu is now a ghost town.
“The clash has left sorrow, tears and blood on its trail. The cultists are very deadly and they unleash mindless mayhem on innocent people,” Nkechi recounted.
She recalled that signs of the current clash reared its ugly head on Saturday, June 7, 2014, when dare devil cultists who were dressed in army uniform, invaded Nwari village in broad daylight.
“Again, about 6am, Friday, June 13, 2014, a faction of the cult group invaded Obiakpu with sophisticated weapons, shooting, killing and maiming innocent people,” Nkechi said.
Another refugee from Obiakpu, who spoke on strict anonymity for security reasons, recalled with grief that “despite the fact that most of the protagonists and perpetrators of the cult war were known persons, nobody has been arrested to answer for their crimes.”
He said the rival cult groups were on the sponsorship and payroll of some supposed prominent personalities in the community, who arm them with varying classes of weapons of war.
Efforts made to reach the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Mr. Andrew Enwerem, on his mobile line failed as it could not be reached before press time.