John ODHE, Yenagoa
After a short period of respite, criminal activities ranging from rival cult killings and robbing of stores have resumed at Swali Ultra Modern Market and Swali community in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.
It could be recalled that cult related activities as well as armed robbery became reduced in the past few weeks in Swali and other parts of the state capital following a crackdown on the criminal elements by the Nigerian Police.
TNN reports that in what looks like a criminal re-enforcement, rival cult groups are back on the streets of Yenagoa, killing themselves and terrorizing innocent residents.
In the latest comeback, it was gathered that the popular Swali market and the community that hosts it have become hot bed for cult rivalry amidst robbing of traders.
Within the week, two persons have been reportedly killed by rival cult attacks and reprisal attacks at Swali market and its surroundings.
Sources told TNN that penultimate Sunday, members of a dreaded cult group (name withheld) allegedly gunned down a member of another cult faction which began search for members of the killer group for retaliation.
We learnt that on Thursday, members of the aggrieved cult group traced a young man they believed to be a member of the group that killed their man to Swali market water front where he was said to be purchasing some commodities.
An eye witness told TNN that three armed young men suspected to be cultists stormed the area where a certain boy said to be a native of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state was shopping and opened fire on him, killing him on the spot.
“I saw them. That was on Thursday. They were three in number and each of them was holding a pistol. They didn’t even hide the guns.
“Suddenly, one of them began to point at a young man who was buying some things near the office of the Maritime Workers Association, saying ‘this is their member’ and shot at him from behind.
“As he fell to the ground, each of the remaining two guys also shot at him from close range after which they searched his pockets, took his belongings and walked away.
“After a while, some policemen now came and carried the body away. This thing has calmed down for sometime now but it has started again. In the evenings, these boys have started robbing people from store to store as they used to do especially in Swali community,” he said.
Others who spoke to our correspondent called on the police to step up their security surveillance to bring normalcy to Yenagoa communities.
When contacted for confirmation of the incidents, the Police Public Relations Officer of the Bayelsa State Police Command, Mr. Asinim Butswat promised to get back to our correspondent for more details but did not call back.