Unidentified gunmen on Monday attacked three female priests of the Brotherhood of the Cross and Star in Calabar, Cross Rivers State, South-south Nigeria.
The female priests aged between 20 and 25 are part of the 144,000 members of the sect’s Body of Virgins.
They were reportedly attacked along Mbupka/Ambo streets at about 5am while going for a morning worship at the BCS’s international headquarters located at 34 Ambo Street, Calabar.
A source, who pleaded not to be named because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said the trio had just left the “Virgins Abode” and headed for 34 Ambo Street when the gunmen struck.
“They had just left their abode and headed for the world headquarters at 34 Ambo Street when some gunmen blocked them,” said the source.
“The robbers took their money and other valuables and stabbed them before escaping the area. The incident happened a few meters from the world headquarters of the sect.”
Another witness, Michael Effiong, told PREMIUM TIMES that the hoodlums beat up and stabbed a pregnant woman for screaming to draw attention to the crime.
Mr. Effiong, who lives in the neighbourhood, said members of the sect and other residents have suffered incessant attacks by gangsters and night marauders.
At about 7pm on Saturday, he said seven young men posing as customers entered Spaks Supermarket along Mbukpa Road near the BCS headquarters and collected the sales proceeds and unspecified items at gunpoint.
Moved by the daily harassment, PREMIUM TIMES learnt the head of the BCS, Rowland Obu, declared special prayers for God to provide alternative means of livelihood for the hoodlums.
In spite of the prayers, however, the robbers have continued to terrorise not only residents of area but also members of the organization.
Due to increasing activities of cult gangs and armed robbers in the area, it was learnt that the state Police Commissioner, Henry Fadairo, led top officers of the command on a visit to the leader of the sect.
The police boss was said to have gone there to show concern over the attacks and to solicit for logistics support to enable them provide round the clock surveillance in the area.
Following the visit, Mr. Obu had pledged a Toyota Hilux van to the police.
As part of its social responsibility to people of the area, the sect is said to have initiated empowerment programme for street urchins popularly called “area boys” from Calabar South Local Government Area.
When contacted however, the Cross River State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, John Eluu, said the command was aware of the security challenge in the area and had directed the Divisional Police Officer for Mbukpa to increase surveillance in the affected areas.