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Edo govt condemns attack on soldiers, warns cultist

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The Edo State government has issued a stern warning to criminals and cultists terrorizing residents, including those responsible for attacking soldiers in the state.

The government has vowed to eliminate criminals operating as cult groups and Okaigheles (youth leaders).

The Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Nehikhare, made this known during a visit to wounded soldiers and a police officer shot by suspected cultists in the Okomu-Ijaw Community, Ovia South West Local Government Area.

Nehikhare assured that the state government would cover the medical bills of the injured officers being treated at the Military Base Hospital in Benin City.

“The attack on soldiers by civilians in the Okomu community is connected to the nefarious activities of cultists,” Nehikhare said.

He also mentioned that Governor Godwin Obaseki strongly condemned the attack and that a task force led by the Director of the Department of State Services has been established to combat cult groups in the state.

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“It is not right in any way for the military to be attacked in any community in Edo State. A few weeks ago, we were all aware of what happened in our neighboring Delta State, where over 20 soldiers were killed by some youths,” Nehikhare said.

Nehikhare explained that Edo State faces a significant problem with cultism and Okaigheles in Benin and across the Edo South Senatorial District.

“The data available to us from the State Security Council indicates that these groups are a primary threat to the security of Edo State. That is why this group of people were banned, and a task force was set up to investigate their activities to neutralize their evil plans,” he added.

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He noted that despite the government ban, some individuals encouraged ignoring it, leading to the attack on soldiers in the Okomu forest. “One of the soldiers is in critical condition. Three personnel, an officer, and two soldiers were severely injured. The gunboat they were in was destroyed and riddled with bullets,” he reported.

Nehikhare urged leaders, especially in Edo South, to control their children and those they have armed. “We don’t want a situation where we will be losing soldiers to civilians or reckless and dangerous cult groups,” he said.

He emphasized the need for all Edo people, regardless of political affiliations, to support the government in the fight against cultism and violence. “Since January till date, we have lost 150 people in cult-related violence,” he noted.

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“We have come to quickly visit the wounded officers and the Army to plead with them and assure them that the Edo State government will not tolerate this untoward behavior,” Nehikhare stated.

“We don’t want what happened in Odi Community in Bayelsa State to happen here in Edo or a repeat of what happened recently in Delta to happen here. It is a serious matter, and we are happy that the Army is a very responsible organization that did not take the law into their own hands; if not, the story would have been different today,” he concluded.

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