By Lesley Muosowo Otu
Seventeen people, including an innocent sympathiser were beaten and set ablaze in Okubushiyu, a community in Boki local government area of Cross River.
The victims who were alleged by a group of youths, to be members of witchcraft coven, were severely beaten and set ablaze, for allegedly causing constant death and bringing misfortune to the community.
Newsdiaryonline investigation as to whether the victims actually confessed to possessing witchcraft powers, our source said the villagers acted on mere suspicious without proofs.
According to the source, on the day of the incidence, a large number of angry mob stormed the homes of the perceived witches and wizards and brought them out.
“As the angry youths were beating them, an elderly man named Papa Odu Ekpang tried dissuading them from taking laws into their hands.
“This prompted their leader (name withheld by Newsdiaryonline) to order his boys who dragged the old man to be beaten along with the victims and set fire on them”, she said.
The source said that the elderly man, who was her uncle, died while trying to plead for his relatives, one Mr Edward Kekong, popularly known as Amama and two other women.
She added that although it was only Papa Odu Ekpang that died from the beating and scourging, others who were taken away for treatment by their family members, might not survive as most of them suffered internal bleeding and severe burns.
When asked why the Police was not involved, she said that even the Police was scared of the leader of the group.
“Police? Even they are afraid of the leader of the gang leader who terrorises the hapless villagers.
“No one dares him. He has made himself a god and wield so much power that even the clan head fears him.
“He has even threatened to kill the clan head and one Mr Ochang Edor, a retired teacher and politician for daring him concerning his control over the community-owned Oil Palm Estate”, she said.
As at the time of filling this report, the villagers were still in broil over the incident.