In Ughelli, Delta State, at least six persons have been confirmed dead within a space of four days, following reprisal killings by two rival cult groups.
The cult groups involved in the clash, according to security sources, are Aro baggars and Aye confraternities.
The killings which started last Thursday at Afiesere community, led to the death of a resident simply identified as Nyerhovwo, popularly known as C.O, whose head was smashed with a battle axe during a robbery attack by a three-man robbery gang.
According to sources in the community, luck, however, ran out on a member of the gang while they were fleeing the scene of the incident as his leg was shattered when one of the guns in their custody accidentally discharged, leading to his colleagues leaving him behind to die in his pool of blood.
One of the sources, who gave his name as Felix Adaruvwehe, disclosed further that upon the arrival of the local vigilante operatives in the area, the dead armed robber was discovered to be a friend of the victim, an incident that led to the reprisal attacks in other parts of Ughelli metropolis.
A security source from the 'A' division police station, Ughelli, while confirming the incident, said five other persons were killed as a result
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said two persons were killed on Friday at the central garage axis and Agishon area, another on Saturday at Oghenevweta and Akpodiete streets, while two other victims were shot dead yesterday at Ekiugbo, with one of them confirmed dead while the second person was rushed to a private hospital where he is currently receiving medical attention.
Confirming the development yesterday, Delta State police command said it has begun a man hunt for those behind the killings recorded in the past few days in Ughelli metropolis.
State Police Public Relations Officer, Onome Onowakpoyeya, who gave the confirmation, said: "We are on the hunt for the prime suspects involved in the incidents, but for now, we are on observation as a result of the #EndSARS protest."
Asked what measures were being put in place to curb the killings in the area, she said: "Unless something serious happens, like these murder cases that you just made mention of, we are on observation.
"But all I can tell you is that we are currently on the manhunt for the perpetrators behind the attacks, and I assure you that they will be brought to book."
Meanwhile, a team of military operatives from the 222 battalion, Agbarha-Otor and personnel of the Vigilante Group of Nigeria, VGN, have rescued four persons who were abducted last Thursday by gunmen between Ekrerhavwen junction and Uviamughe along the busy East/West road.
Confirming the rescue of the travellers, the source said: "The security team had combed the area and traced the hoodlums and the victims to Ododegho bush near Ughelli and engaged them in a gun duel, resulting in the hoodlums fleeing with bullet wounds and abandoning the victims in their hideout."