Five students of Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi, Edo State, were feared killed over the weekend in a reprisal attack by a rival cult groups, and several others students were reportedly injured in the bloody attacks by rival cult groups in the area.
Edo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Haliru Gwandu, however said that “just two persons” were killed.
The victims were allegedly met their death during a sharp disagreement among members of the Black Axe and Vikings confraternities which started on Thursday.
One of the aggrieved parties was said to have engaged the other in a heated argument, shortly after the students had completed their examinations for the 2016 session. The disagreement allegedly sparked the reprisal attacks and subsequent bloodbath outside the school premises.
A source close to the institution disclosed that one of the victims was killed in front of Hartland Company located along Benin-Auchi-Okene expressway, while the other met his waterloo at Sabo off campus area of the Polytechnic.
Another source also reported hostilities among the two rival groups at a graduation party organized by an unidentified student on Thursday night, same day some of the students wrote their final examinations.
Some of the apprehensive students were forced to leave their off campus hostels for fear of being victims of the raging attacks which spread like wild fire between Friday and Saturday nights in different locations as the rival groups moved from one area to the other in search of their targets.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Haliru Gwandu, who confirmed the incident to journalists in Benin, said the victims met their death during the clashes between the members of the Black Axe and Vikings.
He also confirmed the arrest of the suspected killers by the police and are now helping operatives of the State command in their investigations.
“It is just two persons; the first Black Axe person killed a member of Vikings and a member of Vikings retaliated and we have apprehended kingpins of the two and they are helping in investigations and the killings were done outside the campus. We went to the off campus and met them.
“The first Black Axe person killed a member of Vikings and a member of Vikings retaliated and we have apprehended kingpins of the two and they are helping in investigations and the killings were done outside the campus. We went to the off campus and met them,” the CP said.
Gwandu also disclosed that some members of a cult group who were about to embark on secret initiation of new members were arrested on Saturday.
“The Command has not been resting on its oars to ensure that cult related killings are reduced to the barest minimum. In fact, we have anti cult unit and the unit is always alive to its responsibility. Even yesterday they mopped up some cult groups and recovered some pump action guns. Those cult groups were about to go on initiation but luck ran out of them and they were apprehended.
“On the issue of Auchi Polytechnic, it all started on 26th of this month, where a member of Black Axe cult group went and killed an opponent of Vikings cult group. And like I always say in any conference, the students are living in the academic environment and they find that the security unit of the polytechnic or any institution has to raise the alarm to invite the police; it is only when we are invited that we enter into the campus.
“The standard practice is to make sure that sanity is restored or brought everywhere; so when our men are invited, they went and took photographs of the scene and protect the people and the next thing is to gather intelligence on who masterminded the killings and good enough were able to apprehend the person who masterminded the killings.
“An axe was also recovered from him and not only one person, both sides; we were able to apprehend the kingpins of that rival cult related madness. So, the matter is under investigation. I wouldn’t want to mention names because it can halt the process of investigation but as it is now both the Black Axe cult group and the Vikings cult group we have their kingpins at hand and they are helping the investigation. I am sure by the middle of this week, we will be able to make more arrests and put sanity to the whole situation.”
“According to the intelligence I received any time students are closing in the institution, it has become ritual for them to engage in cult related fight and eventually they experience casualties,” he said.
He therefore solicited for the cooperation of various administrators of universities and other tertiary institutions to ensure that student admitted into the schools are of good character behavior”, adding that social programmes should be set up to engage the minds of students while other social activities that usually lead to cult clashes must be banned within the institutions of higher learning for guaranteed safety and security of all.
“I assured all and sundry that as long as I am the commissioner of police in the state, nothing would be left to chance and no stone will be left unturned. We will do everything humanly possible to ensure that such misguided elements, unscrupulous elements, psychopaths and disorderly type of students who carry activities like these will be apprehended and charged to court,” he said.