This weekly update looks at gang violence in the Niger Delta with a particular focus on Cross River state. Gang violence is a prevailing security threat in Cross River, driven largely by supremacy battles among rival cult gangs. Cult gangs permeate public institutions and communities, involving students, lecturers, and other public officials.
Data indicates that gang violence is becoming increasingly brutal and taking various criminal and political dimensions. According to data (see map below), cult clashes caused over 180 fatalities in Cross River between January 2016 and April 2020. In March 2020, for instance, 8 persons were reportedly killed in a series of cult clashes at different locations in Calabar, the state capital.
In April 2020, 2 persons including, a notorious cult leader, were reportedly killed during clashes between Vikings and Black Axe cult gangs in Ugep, Yakurr LGA. Lately, in May 2020, over 6 persons including a lecturer, a councillorship candidate, and a former chairman of a local chapter of a major political party, were reportedly killed by cultists at different locations in Calabar Municipal and Calabar South LGAs.