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Cultists clash again

Posted by The Port Harcourt Telegraph on 2005/08/28 | Views: 271 |

Cultists clash again

Two boats steamed in the direction of the Borikiri shoreline. They were loaded with armed men. The day was Thursday and it was evening, just about the time residents try to relax after a hard day's job.

Two boats steamed in the direction of the Borikiri shoreline. They were loaded with armed men. The day was Thursday and it was evening, just about the time residents try to relax after a hard day's job.

As the boats made to anchor at the shore, a number of motorcyclists were headed in the direction of Borikiri too. Those on machine back were armed to the hilt.

Closely behind them, were buses filled with fighting men. In their possession were general-purpose machine guns, sticks of dynamite and the like.
Among those who were to be be hit was Derego Princewill. Princewill allegedly heads a cult group that is known as Wangi Marine and from what we hear, he was wanted dead or alive by the Vigilante.
Sources say that starry-eyed associates of Soboma George who have been keeping watch in the Borikiri area identified a fair skinned man on bike known to be an Ateke man.

In no time they realized an invasion was underway and opened fire.
Their fire was returned and for the umpteenth time, a war was on between both sides. For up to an hour the groups fought around the UPE Sandfill area up to Ibadan Waterside. Around Aggrey Estate where known Ateke followers have dug in the last few weeks, Baptist Waterside and so on shooting erupted.

Policemen around Moorehouse Street and Aggrey Road fled as the intensive shooting began while men, women and children scampered out of the way, hoping to escape being hit by flying pellets as they ran for safety.

There are two accounts of what could have happened to Derego Princewill. While some sources allege bullets hit him as he escaped, others insist, he was not hit. What is evident is that he escaped death by hair's breath.
The Vigilante may have under estimated the extent of the resistance of the Soboma loyalists.

Unknown to the Vigilante, according to what we have found, Soboma or his loyalists had moved in quite a lot of Klansmen into the area.
Our information suggests they could have been more than hundred and had allegedly moved into the State from Calabar.

Some how, the Vigilante is said to have withdrawn tactically, falling back to No.6 Field as soldiers moved in to quell the riotous disturbances and restore calm to the troubled areas.
It had become clear, as the crisis re-erupted that police would be no match for the warring factions.

The entry of the soldiers somehow sent all the groups running, with the residents happy they could at least have a quiet night's nap.
But the recurrence of the fighting led to questions, with many residents wondering when all this would end.

If the earlier raid launched by security forces in Okrika in which seven persons were formally arrested was expected to send clear signals and put an end to the current fighting in the city, what happened Thursday did not appear to be consistent with that theory.

As at the time of this report, the seven adjudged suspects in the killing of Senibo George had been arraigned before a court and sent to prison where they are awaiting trial.

One of them from what we have heard was Ateke's secretary.
Friday night, residents in the disturbed areas braced up for the worst, but heavy security presence guaranteed calm.

Sources say Soboma's men move in Mitshibushi buses that have no number plates and they hint they have access to several colours of Mercedes Benz 190 cars, which also carry no plate numbers.
Since government forces stormed Ateke's base, Ateke appears to have gone underground.

Ateke had said earlier he was enjoying the peace, but the Soboma challenge has apparently changed all that.
Soboma had said he escaped from prison to avoid being killed by Ateke, saying he had no intention to foment trouble.

Many here with some knowledge of how the cult groups operate say that as far as there are territories to control, bruised egos to massage and a feeling of superiority complex, the battle is likely to continue.

On the streets, on a near daily basis, the cults are allegedly recruiting foot soldiers who be needed to prosecute their own brand of the war on terror.

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