Rivers cult clashes: 200 killed in two years

At least 202 persons have been killed as a result of cult and gang-related violence in Rivers State in three years, a report by the Partnership Initiative in the Niger Delta has revealed.

PIND, in its weekly update, noted that there had been an increase in organised criminality in the Niger Delta, especially gang-related violence in Rivers State.

Clashes between rival cult gangs have been a major driver of conflict and insecurity in Rivers State.

Data extracted from the heat map formatted on the P4P Peace Map showed that between January 2021 and September 2023, cult and gang violence caused over 200 fatalities.

The data also showed a rise in cult activities in the state, especially with the recent episode, where the State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, was almost ousted from office by the state House of Assembly.

The report noted that a rise in gang violence could destabilise politics and governance in the state, especially considering that “cult clashes and political violence are mutually reinforcing – cult gangs are often funded and used by politicians to attack opponents and influence election results”.

Ahoada had the highest number of incidents with 63 deaths. This is closely followed by Port Harcourt LG with 60 deaths.

Also, 32 deaths were recorded in local governments around PHALGA.

Thirty persons died near the Bayelsa National Force; Lewe had nine deaths; Bonny LGA had two and local governments around Bonny had six deaths combined.

These figures are only from reported cases.

For instance, in September 2023, a notable Divisional Police Officer was reportedly killed by members of a notorious cult gang in the Odeimude community, Ahoada East LGA.

Separately, in September, a young man was allegedly beaten to death by hoodlums suspected to be members of a rival cult gang in Rumuodomaya community, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area.

In October, a young man was reportedly killed by gunmen suspected to be cultists at Mile 1 in Diobu community, Port Harcourt Local Government Area.

More recently, on November 12, 2023, gunmen suspected to be members of a cult gang reportedly killed five persons in Odiemerenyi community, Ahoada East Local Government Area.

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