BY THE FUND FOR PEACE AND PARTNERSHIP INITIATIVES IN THE NIGER DELTA (PIND)
Reports of cult violence have increased sharply in the Niger Delta since the beginning of 2014. This has been particularly salient in Rivers State, where the violence has been spread over a wide geographic region. In Rivers, as in other Niger Delta states, cult violence has taken on various criminal, militant, communal, and/or political undertones, depending on the situation. In 2015 for instance, incidents included a major clash between rival cult groups Deywell and Deebam in the northern Local Government Area (LGA) of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni that killed as many as 16 people in July. There was also a reported clash between rival cult groups Greenlanders and Icelanders in the southern LGA of Degema; and political intimidation by cult groups such as the Icelanders and Greenlanders between January and April in the central LGA of Port Harcourt, the south eastern LGA of Andoni, and elsewhere. Given how pervasive the issue has become, for any program that seeks to mitigate conflict in the state, cultism will have to be a key consideration in the coming year as Rivers goes through significant socio-political changes presenting both opportunities and risks to sustainable peace and development.
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