There was fear and anxiety in Igarra, Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State over the murder of a young man identified as Ajitwewunmeshe Emmah, popularly known as Lacombe, by yet-to-be identified persons.
The killing led to many shops in Ugbogbo part of Igarra not opening for business and a local market that holds in the heart of the area popularly called Ofua-Momo, which opens once in four days was also deserted.
DAILY POST gathered in the LGA council headquarters that there was a clash between two groups of masquerades who came out for a dance on Monday, which led to several people sustaining various degrees of injuries inflicted with machetes and axes. Among the injured was the chairman, Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC), Chief Folorunsho Okomayin.
Yet, another version said the clash may not be far from the ongoing clashes among rival cult groups in the state.
A member of the vigilante group in Igarra locality said “After the annual Ekuochi Festival, there is always the merriment later in the evening when several masquerades and young persons come back to town to continue the celebrations.
“On Monday, there were two masquerades that were permitted to come out but a third one came and instead of the members carrying sticks, they came out with knives, axes and machetes, there was a clash and several persons were injured and some hospitalised but normalcy was restored later that evening. I was shocked when we heard in the early hours of yesterday that the boy was shot dead.”
It was gathered that a formal complaint has been laid at the Igarra Police Station and police were already investigating.
When contacted, the traditional ruler of Igarra, HRH Oba Adeche Saiki, Otaru affirmed that the clash was not unconnected to the Ekuochi Festival and cult clashes that is rife in the state.
He said, “It has some connection with Ekuochi and no doubt I believe that this issue of cultism also came into play. But this Ekuochi Festival was first banned and it was brought back after they reached some agreement to always be peaceful, and this is the third one but I think we have gone back to square one about the banning because it is an abomination for any masquerade to use its cane on an elder in the community.
“Immediately the news of the death got to me, I reported to the police and the army. They are already working to ensure there is peace in the land.”