Masquerade cults kill two in vengeance in Imo
Two persons were killed when aggrieved members of a cult in Umutogume, Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State, invaded the village to avenge their colleague, who died during a festival at the weekend.
Many were injured by the hoodlums, who were allegedly armed with AK 47 and other dangerous weapons.
Among the victims were an octogenarian, Priscilla Chije, and her 44-year-old son, Onyeka Chije, who died instantly.
A cameraman was shot in the head. He later died. Chidel Chije, a cousin to Onyeka, was left with a severe wound. Others were also hit by stray bullets.
It was gathered that a masquerader, known as Udebube, from Abatu village, collapsed and died on the spot, fueling suspicion that he was killed by the charm of the host masquerade.
Sources said members of the deceased’s team went back to their village, and allegedly brought gunmen to attack the village two days later.
Narrating the incident, the son to the injured octogenarian, Mr. Samuel Chije, said the gunmen, accompanied by members of the masquerade (Mmanwu) cult from Abatu stormed their village and killed two people.
According to him, “the masquerader from Abatu village collapsed and died while performing during the festival and the members claimed he was killed by our village masquerade with voodoo. So, when we sensed what was going to happen, our village masquerade did not come out to dance on the day of the attack. They went and hired gunmen with AK 47 and stormed our village and started shooting, killing two persons, including my younger brother, Onyeka Chije and injuring my mother, Pricilla Chije”.
“My brother was at his place of work when he heard that our mother was hit by stray bullet; he rushed home. When he got there, the gunmen, who had retreated to reinforce, saw him and shot him; he was riddled with bullets. My cousin, Chidel Chije, sustained gunshot wounds and is in critical condition in a hospital.
“A cameraman, shot in the head, died instantly, while others were injured. But we know the gunmen because we have the video clips. They were accompanied by some prominent men from Abatu village. We suffered more because our house was by the road”.
Another indigene of Umutogume, said: “I know the dead masquerader. He is not in the best of health, he may have died from heart attack as he is almost obese but the members of the masquerade cult from the other village believed he was killed with voodoo and came for revenge. They were armed with sophisticated weapons. It was like a theatre of war. I have never seen anything like that in my life”.
Commissioner of Police Chris Ezike, said: “We have made some arrests and investigation is on. We have also met with the traditional ruler and other stakeholders. We also deployed policemen to the communities to avoid reprisal attacks”.