A victim of a recent cult war in Ebonyi State has narrated his ordeal in the hands of the cultists.
Sunday Oji, a 20 years old student of Comprehensive Secondary School, Ogwuma Edda in Afikpo South Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, on Wednesday, said he was saved by hunters from being buried alive by the cultists.
He said the cultists had already covered him with soil to his head level, burying him alive before the intervention of the hunters.
A cult war in the council area had claimed at least three lives in the past one month.
Speaking from his hospital bed in Afikpo, Mr Oji said he was mistaken by a cult group as a member of a rival group.
He said they pounced on him in his village, Ogwuma, beating him thoroughly before dragging him to the bush where they had already dug a grave for him.
Mr Oji said his cry for help attracted the attention of the local hunters who eventually rescued him.
According to him, the hoodlums took to their heels when they heard the movement of people approaching the scene.
Mr Orji said the thugs claimed they were avenging the killing of one of their members who was shot dead recently in the area.
“While I was in our compound, one of my friends came and told me to escort him to buy something. When we reached the store, we saw three boys with three bikes destroying and looting the shop of one guy called Imo Orji. One of them came to me and asked me where is Imo, is Imo around and I told them that I didn’t know.
“Before I could know what was happening, they started beating and matcheting me, saying that I was the one that carried the gun and shot the guy that day. I told them it is not me and I have not carried a gun before in my life.
“They said it is not true, that I was the one. When they noticed that people had started noticing them, they bundled me on one of the bikes and zoomed off and took me to the bush where they dug ground and put me and covered me with sand up to my chest. I was inside there suffocating, shouting before they heard footsteps of people coming and they ran away.’’
Reacting, the traditional ruler of Umunna Autonomous community, Ezeogo Dickson Obo, described the security situation in the area as terrible.
He called on the security agencies and government to intervene
“Security situation here in my community Umunna Community is very challenging and bad. We are calling the state government and other security agencies to come to our rescue. Suspected cultists usually beseige us, causing problems because they know that we don’t have somebody to speak for us.
“This is not the first time they have been attacking us. The community is feeling bad and sad on the attack of Sunday Orji. We’re telling the government to intervene,” he said.
The police spokesperson in Ebonyi, Loveth Oda, said nine suspects had been arrested in connection with the recent killings and violence in the communities.
“Initially we arrested 36 of them, but they were screened and nine of them are in detention. Investigations are ongoing and more will be arrested”, she added.