Sunday Oji, a 20-year-old student, has narrated how he narrowly escaped being buried alive by suspected cultists.
Oji, who goes to Comprehensive Secondary School, in Ogwuma Village, Afikpo South Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, said the suspects mistook him for a rival cult member and dragged him into a bush where they dug a grave to bury him alive.
Communites in Afikpo have been enmeshed in cult clashes for some weeks now and Oji was somehow caught in the violence.
Speaking from his hospital bed at Mater Misericordiae Hospital, Afikpo, on Wednesday, May 13, Oji, who had machete cuts all over his body, said he would have been buried alive if not for the timely intervention of local hunters who helped him escape the plot.
He said, “The thugs claimed they were avenging the killing of one of their members who was shot dead last week in the area.
“While I was in our compound, one of my friends came and told me to escort him to buy something. When we reached the store, we saw three boys on bikes destroying and looting the shop of one Imo Orji. One of them came to me and asked me where was Imo. And I told him I don’t know.
“Before I could finish speaking, the other person interrupted me and said I should follow them. Before I knew what was happening, they started hitting and stabbing me, saying I was the one who shot their member. They bundled me on one of the bikes and zoomed off to Ekoli where they dug a pit, threw me in, and covered me with sand up to chest level. I was inside there suffocating, shouting when they heard the footsteps of people coming and ran away.”
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Loveth Oda, confirmed the incident, noting that nine suspects in connection with the crime and recent killings in the affected communities were in detention. She said they would be prosecuted.
“Though we arrested thirty-six of them, they were screened and nine of them are in detention. Investigations are ongoing and more will be arrested,” she said.