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Cultists kill 17-yr old girl in Bayelsa.

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Outrage and lamentations poured on Friday in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, following the gruesome murder of a 17-year-old girl by suspected cultists, whose motive was to snatch her smart phone.

Seifa Fred, a 100-level student of the state-owned Niger Delta University (NDU) was gunned down at close range while running an errand for her mother in the state capital.

Fred, who was at home following the strike declared by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), was said to have gone out at about 8pm to buy roasted meat popularly known as suya for her mother.

On her way back, cultists who have made life in Yenagoa a living hell, were said to have attacked her close to her house and shot her in a bid to snatch her phone.

Her mother was said to have rushed to the scene following the gunshot only to behold her beautiful fair in complexion daughter in the pool of her blood.

The helpless mother raised the alarm to attract sympathizers, who rushed the girl to the hospital, but the young Fred was declared dead on arrival.

Investigations showed that the incident was one too many as innocent residents in Yenagoa are constantly attacked and killed by cultists, who invade the streets to snatch smart phones.

In the case of Fred’ an eyewitness, who spoke in confidence said the hoodlums waylaid and wasted no time to snuff life out of her.

He said: “The incident happened at about 8pm beside Zenith Bank in Amarata area. The suspected street cultists, who were on the prowl, shot her and ran away with her phone leaving her dead on the ground.

“Resident of the area came out and rushed her to the hospital, but she later passed out. She is currently at the mortuary”.

Residents lampooned security agencies especially the police for failing to tame cultists and their violent behaviour in the state.

One of the resident identified as Moses observed that armed cultists were roaming the streets and unleashing violence on victims without any hindrance.

“It is as if Bayelsa is a lawless state. These boys are everywhere with arms killing and maiming people just to snatch their valuables especially phones. They operate at night and in daytime with hindrances. We are not safe. Imagine the cruel way the life of young and vibrant Seifa Fred was taken by them.

“The government must rise to the occasion. They should partner with security agencies to stop this killing. The government should not allow cultists to form their own system of government”, he said.

Further investigations showed that killings by cultists were daily happenings at Obele, Abor Road, Saint Peters area, Amarata, Kpansia, Opolo and Tombia area, described as red spots in Yenagoa.

Some angry residents claimed that cult-related violence was on the increase because cultists arrested by the police escape justice after paying huge amount of money to void their prosecution. The claim, however, could not be verified.

Some friends of Seifa Fred said she was chatting with them on some of her social media platforms a few minutes before her death.

One of her friends, Gideon Owili said: “Bayelsa state is really insecure. Seifa Fred was online a few minutes ago. She had just be shot dead because a smart phone. She gave them the phone, but they still shot her. I am in tears and deep sorrow.

The leader of the Egbesu Brotherhood, Apostle Bodmas Kemepadei, described the killing as unfortunate and called on the youths to stop the violence.

“Cultism and abuse of drugs is on the increase, there is no day that passes in Yenagoa, that gunshots are not heard. People are being killed like chickens, yet no reports of arrests made.

“We should join hands together to restore peace in our state, cultism affects us all, if you are not a cultist then you are a victim, don’t wait for this government, security is all of us business”.

But the state government condemned the killing of Seifa Fred and called for collective efforts to stop agents of death.

The Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Daniel Iworiso-Markson appealed to the security agencies to be alive to their duties.

He said: “We need to get the security agencies to be alive to their responsibilities. This is no time to apportion blames. We all need to take responsibility for our collective security.

“We must all collectively condemn this and rise up to confront these criminal gangs terrorizing our neighborhoods. The perpetrators are not spirit. They live among us. Let us not be silent. Let’s not be afraid or shy away from reporting them because it could be anybody next”.

The police in a statement signed by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Asinim Butswat, confirmed the killing and promised to arrest the suspects.

He said: “On 8 November, 2018, at about 2030hours, unknown suspected cultists at Amarata, Yenagoa, shot one Seiyefa Fred ‘f’ 16years, while trying to dispossess her of her mobile phone. The victim was immediately rushed to the hospital, where she was confirmed dead.

“The Police have swung into action and are working on a promising lead on the identity of the suspects and efforts have been intensified to arrest them.

“The command has embarked on community engagement meetings with relevant youth bodies in a bid to stem the tide of cult related activities. Members of the public should continue to assist the Police with useful information to combat crime in Bayelsa State”.

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