The Anambra State police commissioner, Mr Garba Umar has revealed that a gun battle between two rival cult groups in Awka, the state capital, has claimed 16 lives in two weeks.
Umar stated this Tuesday, while parading 35 suspected cultists at the state police command, Amawbia, near Awka.
He raised alarm over the increase in cult-related activities in Awka, stating that he fears that a confession by one of the suspects that over 90 per cent of youths in Awka, including students, artisans and others, were cultists, may not be far from the truth.
The commissioner called on parents to perform their function by taming their children as the command may commence charging those arrested to court for murder.
Black Axe and the Vikings fraternity in Awka have for weeks been enmeshed in a superiority war, leading to the death of members from both groups.
Some of the suspected cultists paraded by the commissioner include; Chukwudi Machie; 34, Chukwudi Igwebueze; 32, Onyeka Igbanugo; 28, Ifeanyi Anazoba; 32 and Chukwuemeka Nwokoye; 32 among others.
One of the suspect, Chukwudi Machie, in an interview with journalists, confessed that most of the commercial motorcyclists and tricycle operators in the capital city were all members of one cult group or the other.
Machie said, “Over 92 per cent of young people in Awka and environs are members of one secret cult or the other. We recruit them young.”
Items recovered from the suspects include; one AK 47 riffle, one Bareta English pistol, two locally-made double barrel pistol, one single barrel short gun, 15 rounds of 7.62 live ammunition, three cartridges and a red Toyota Matrix car snatched from its owner at Benin city, Edo State.
The commissioner reiterated that his command would not fold its arm and watch while cultists wrecked havoc on the city, threatening to arrest and charge suspects with murder if parents and guardians failed to play their role of leading their wards aright.