Many are feared dead in an ongoing clash between two rival gangs in Calabar South Local Government Area of Cross River State, the police, residents and witnesses have told PREMIUM TIMES.
Trouble started when a tricycle operator belonging to a cult group named the “Marvians,” refused to pay a loading fee of N50 to a member of a rival gang named “Ekpat”, near the Watt Market.
Since the ban on use of commercial motorcycle operations in Calabar metropolis and due to lack of enough taxis, tricycle, popularly called “Keke” has become a vital means of transportation in the city.
A source who pleaded not to be named for security reasons, told PREMIUM TIMES that the refusal of the “keke” operator to pay the loading fee infuriated members of “Ekpat” gang.
“The action of the Marvians member infuriated members of Ekpat cult, who mobilised and beat the tricycle operator to a pulp,” said the source.
“When some members of the Marvian cult group who were around saw how their colleague was being manhandled, they also mobilised for a reprisal attack.”
During the fighting, the source said the Marvians killed a prominent member of the rival gang, Emmanuel Abuchi, popularly known as “Actor” along Mayne Avenue Street.
The killing of Mr. Abuchi is said to have escalated the fighting as members of the Ekpat cult flooded many parts of Calabar South, searching for members of the Marvians.
The fighting which started early in the week is said to have claimed several lives and has brought commercial activities to a halt in the area.
Meanwhile, the state Commissioner of Police, Ozi Obeh, told journalists that eight suspects linked to the killings have been arrested.
Mr. Obeh, who has just been posted to the state, only gave the number of people killed on Friday.
But he assured residents that the Police would fish out criminals and restore peace to the state.
“We have recorded one or two casualties this morning from the cult clash but the good news is that we have eight suspects connected to the killings now under our custody while thorough investigation is ongoing,” he said.
“From now on, there will be peace in the state. Those who want to sleep should sleep with their eyes closed.”
The police boss further appealed to members of the public to feel free to report any suspicious movements to the police and sued for synergy exchanged of ideas with the media.
“Life itself is a challenge but with my experience and the support from the media, we are going to succeed. But we need information from the public too”, Mr. Obeh said.
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