One unnamed policeman and three civilians have been killed in Bayelsa State as a result of cult activities in the state, it has been learnt.
The killings of the four persons took place in two separate incidents in the state on Sunday.
While the policeman, said to be of the Police Mobile Force, was killed in Yenagoa, the three civilians were killed in Otuesiga in Ogbia Local Government Area of Ogbia LGA of the State.
It was learnt that the policeman allegedly ran into cultists at Tombia area of the State capital, who were on the rampage over the reported arrest of one of their leaders, a member of the Icelanders cult group.
The cop might have been killed because the cultists, who were ruing over the apprehension of their leader, saw him as one of their enemies.
As regards the incident at Otuesiga, it was gathered that two rival cult groups, engaged in supremacy battle clashed.
In the ensuing clash, two cult members were said to be killed, while an unlucky man, said to be from the northern part of the country was hit by a stray bullet during the confrontation. The unidentified victim was said to have died instantly after being hit by the stray bullets.
The Commissioner of Police, Bayelsa State Command, Mr. Ebere Onyeagoro, confirmed the killing of the police personnel during cultists show of force.
Onyeagoro said, “The command regrettably lost one of its men on way to duties. That is one of the hazards of the job. We are doing our best to make sure such incident does not occur. It is essentially as a result of cult activities. It was unfortunate that the officer ran into them and lost his life to that encounter.
“We will do our best, we will sustain all patrols to make sure that we curtail the acts of these rival cults. The fact is that crime does not pay in any way. We will not reward crime.
“The parents and the good people of Bayelsa should also advise their wards, children, privies, parties to abstain from criminalities and all forms of violence because it does not anybody any good. We are on top of the situation and we are also working on intelligence and at the end, all those concerned will be brought to book.”
Meanwhile, Onyeagoro on Monday briefed journalists and officers and men of the command, saying that cult activities, robberies and associated crimes will be routed out in the state.
He regretted that on assumption of duty last Friday, he noticed that the prevailing crimes in the state were cultism, armed robbery, rape, indecent assaults, chieftaincy tussle, communal disputes, among others.
He added, “I have started consultations with relevant non-actors to source information and actionable intelligence with a view to establishing a functional security framework that will assist the command in identifying leaders and members of cult groups and to reduce cases of cult activities and armed robberies in Yenagoa and other parts of the State.
“We will initiate community engagement programmes designed to embrace members of the communities for effective policing.”
He said that the police tactical teams had been reinvigorated to deal decisively with serious and violent crimes in the state.
He equally said that the special anti-robbery squad had been rebounded and that the personnel had recently undergone intensive training in international standards and best practices in policing and would limit their scope to investigation of armed robbery cases.
In a related development, the killing of the policeman and three other persons came a few days after a coalition of Ijaw youth groups took to streets of Yenagoa to stage a procession against cultism, sea-piracy, kidnapping, bloodletting , drugs and other violence crime that were on the increase in the state.
The march, which started from the popular Tombia roundabout, climaxed at the Gabriel Okara cultural centre, as the group, sensitised members of the public to anti-social vices that characterise cultism.
The Convener, Mr. Bodmas Kemepadei, urged the youths to eschew cultism, drugs and social vices which he said had affected them state negatively in terms of economic growth.
He said that it was time for youths to come together as one big family, saying the incessant and unending cult killings was worrisome.
He said, “Youths that are dying are Ijaw people, and it is against our norms for an Ijaw man to kill a fellow Ijaw man, so we say no to these evil vices constituting menace in our communities, we are calling on our brothers to give peace a chance, if there is an unrest then there can be no development.
“We are also asked brothers in the creeks to put an end to the consistent attacks on passengers and market boats, kidnapping and pipeline vandalism. We need peace in Ijaw nation if we must attract investors. “