The Ebonyi State government on Monday said that nine persons were killed in a renewed clash between two rival cults in the state.
The Commissioner for Border Peace and Internal Security, Mr Stanley Okoro-Emegha, made the disclosure in Abakaliki while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the state Security Council meeting.
Okoro-Emegha, who is also the Caretaker Committee Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the state, said that 37 suspected cult members had also been arrested by security agencies.
“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 secured yuletide, with efforts already made to protect the lives and property of the citizens.
“The government requested that Divisional Police Officers and other security enforcers in all the local government areas attend the meeting to evolve ways of protecting the people during the yuletide.
“The security officers at the council areas complained of logistic challenges, such as operational vehicles and the governor pledged to swiftly address the challenges.
“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.