Security men have arrested a total of 37 suspected cultists, while nine persons have been killed in a renewed clash between two rival cult groups in Ebonyi State.
The state Commissioner for Internal Security and Border Peace, Hon. Stanley Okoro Emegha, who disclosed this while briefing journalists on the outcome of the enlarged state Security Council meeting in Abakaliki, said that some members of the state vigilance group, Neighborhood Watch, were among the suspects held.
He disclosed that Governor David Umahi had placed bounty on anybody identified as cultists in the state.
“About 37 persons have been arrested and we are making arrangement to take them to court. It is pertinent to note that some members of the Neighbourhood Security Watch, the state’s security outfit, were among those arrested for the cult-related activities.
“The suspects will soon be charged to court, as the government is exploring all avenues to eradicate cultism in the state. The government has also given security agencies seven days to expose cult members in the state or take the blame for cult disturbances”, he said.
The commissioner assured residents of a secure yuletide, with efforts already made to protect the lives and property of the citizens.
“The aesthetic nature of the state has been greatly enhanced by the governor and visitors will be thronging the state during the yuletide. Traditional rulers and town union leaders, among others, will be held liable in cases of disturbances in their areas, as they were also enjoined to ensure adequate security,” he said.
The commissioner also stated that 9,000 live cartridges were recently discovered at a building material market, adding that the owner of the shop, where they were discovered, was being interrogated by security agencies.