A bloody clash between a local vigilante group and a group of youths suspected to be cultists at the weekend claimed four persons in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.
About six other persons sustained varying degree of injuries, including an Indian national (names withheld) who was allegedly shot in the head.
According to a resident, the crisis started when two rival cult groups engaged themselves in a supremacy battle around the Welfare Quarters area of the town which later snowballed into a clash between the vigilantes, leading to the death of no fewer than three persons.
He said: “They have turned Welfare Quarters into a den of arms and it is unfortunate that our law enforcement agencies are turning a blind eye and not doing anything about it.
“Yesterday the cult groups in the area engaged each other in a bloody fight that left three persons dead, many injured while several families fled their homes for fear of being killed by the arms wielding young men.
“In a bid to stop the escalation of the fight, the vigilante group on duty in the area tried to stop members of the gangs from further unleashing mayhem in the area but some of them also got shot for their boldness.”
It was further gathered that some members of the feuding cult gangs who were bent on revenging the deaths of their members in the fight, snatched a vehicle and chased fleeing rivals to a popular bar on Makurdi-Otukpo road where they opened fire indiscriminately on innocent persons.
“It was at that drinking spot that one other person was killed and the Indian national was shot on the head. He was said to be a contractor with a leading telecommunication outfit in the town. He was this morning flown in an air ambulance to Abuja because he was in critical condition while others are receiving treatment in public hospitals in town.”
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Assistant Superintendent, Austin Ezeani, who confirmed the development, said the police had recorded two deaths in the incident.