The death toll from raging violent clashes between members of rival cult groups in Benin City, the Edo State capital, yesterday rose from 12 to 20 following the killing of eight more persons.
The latest killings which occurred around 2nd East Circular and New Lagos Road brought the death toll of the two-week-old clashes between Eiye and Mafite cults to 20.
At House No.13B, New Lagos Road in Benin City, a man operating a barber’s shop and believed to be between 27 and 30 years of age, was gunned down by three armed men at about 9.45am yesterday.
Although the corpse was taken away as at press time, the blood stains from the victim arising from the gunshots was visible at his store when newsmen visited the scene yesterday afternoon.
Sources said the gunmen walked into the victim’s store and without any discussion opened fire and shot him repeatedly at very close range.
Nigerian Pilot gathered that the “first gunman entered and shot him severally in the head. The second one came and shot him; and the third one used his gun to shake the victim (Patrick) to confirm that he was dead.”
The clash among the various cult groups whose members were funded as thugs during the just-concluded general elections, started after a disagreement over the sharing of monies at a polling centre in Benin City during the April 11 Presidential/ National Assembly election in the state.
A member of the Mafite was said to have been beaten to death by suspected members of the Eiye group who apparently were more in number during the ensuing fracas.
It was further learnt that the incident afterwards spread to town as members of Mafite vowed to avenge the assault and killing of their “member.”
Spokesman of the state police command, DSP Stephen Onwuchei, said he was yet to be furnished with the development. He said: “For now, I don’t want to isolate cases or give out information that is untrue.”

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