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Attack on soldiers: Edo Govt to begin operation flush out cultists, criminals

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Edo Government says plans have been concluded to flush out criminal cult groups and ‘Okaigheles’ (youth leaders) from the state.

The state government reacted on Sunday to recent attack on soldiers in Okomu community by criminals and cultists.

Chris Nehikhare, the State Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, spoke at the Military Base Hospital in Benin during a visit to wounded soldiers and a police officer who were shot by suspected cultists.

Recall that two soldiers and a police officer were on June 7 shot in Okomu community in Ovia South West Local Government Area of the state by suspected cultists.

Nehikhare pledged the Edo Government’s support in footing the bills of the wounded military officers receiving treatment at the Military Base Hospital.

Nehikhare, who disclosed that Governor Godwin Obaseki frowned at the attack on military personnel, said a taskforce led by the Director of the State Security, DSS, had been set up to combat cult groups in the state.

“It is not right in any way for the military to be attacked in any community in Edo. A few weeks ago, we were all aware of what happened in our neighboring Delta, where no fewer than 20 soldiers were killed by some youths.

“In Edo, we have a bad case of cultism and what we also call Okaigheles (youth leaders) in Benin and across Edo South Senatorial District.

“The data available to us provided to the State Security Council has shown that these people are mostly responsible for the threat to the security in Edo.

“That is why this group of people were banned and a taskforce set up to neutralise their activities.’’

The commissioner said that the governor placed a ban on the Okaigheles but some people told them to ignore the ban.

According to him, there can only be one government at a time.

He said it was regrettable that the banned group was emboldened to go into Okomu forest to attack soldiers.

“One of the soldiers is on the bed in critical condition and two soldiers were badly injured.

“The gun boat they were in were destroyed and riddled with bullets; this is happening in Edo.

“We do not want a situation where we will be losing soldiers to civilians or to reckless and dangerous cult groups.’’

The commissioner pleaded with leaders in Edo South to rein in their children and the people that they had armed one way or the other.

“We have come to quickly visit the wounded officers and the Army to assure them that Edo Government will not tolerate this untoward behavior.

“We don’t want what happened in Odi community in Bayelsa to happen here in Edo or a repeat of what happened recently in Delta to happen here.

“It is a serious matter and all Edo people, irrespective of political affiliations, must support the government in this fight against cultism and killings going on.

“Since January to date, we have lost no fewer than 150 people in cult related violence,’’ he said.

He commended the Army for being a responsible organization which did not take the laws into its own hands.

 

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