By Emma Una, Calabar
One Abraham Bepeh of Betukwel community in Obubu Local Government Area of Cross River State has been arrested by the police for allegedly killing his friend identified as Richard Beshel Mashok with whom he had been having running battle over a girlfriend, Miss Anna Ushie.
Abraham is with the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) in Calabar, where the Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Homicide, Mr. Joseph Inuyashe, said he is to explain what caused him to kill the deceased.
According to the police, during interrogation, Abraham described his victim as “my close friend”, alleging that “Richard was the first who attempted to eliminate me over the girl both of us were in love with, Miss Anna Ushie, a student of Immaculate (Annunciation) Secondary School, Ohong”.
To convince the police, Abraham, who displayed some scars on his neck, legs, hands and chest, alleged that he had a face-off with Richard, following which the deceased inflicted on him machete cuts.
Abraham allegedly dropped out of school at JSS3 because of cult activities, while the deceased was said to have recently graduated with a degree in education and was attached to Immaculate (Annunciation} Secondary School, Ohong-Obudu as a teacher. On the day of the incident, Richard was said to have left a salon where he went to barb his hair and was taking his clothes to a dry cleaner when he ran into Abraham who accosted him, saying they should finish what they had started some weeks earlier.
A fight was said to have ensued and Abraham reportedly brought out a dagger and stabbed the deceased on the neck and took to his heels in an attempt to escape arrest and possible jungle justice. But some boys went after him and caught him. “Chiefs and leaders from the neighbouring communities of the two friends had waded into the matter, advising the duo to sheathe their sword and embrace peace but they did not”, a source said.
Richard, our source said, was fined a goat, and Abraham two cartons of beer by the chiefs to end the rift, but Abraham stood in their midst and protested, saying the fine imposed on Richard was not proportionate to the series of assault the deceased had unleashed on him. Determined to fight on, Abraham boasted in anger at the village square saying, “you have enjoyed your goat meat and two cartons of beer, for me it is not over until it is over”
Efforts to save Richard’s life did not yield any result as he died before reaching the Obubu General Hospital where he was rushed to for medical attention.
Abraham, who spoke with Sunday Vanguard in his cell, said, “The boy was a secret cult member. He was initiated into Vikings in 2002, long before I was initiated.
“We used to fight because of one girlfriend we were sharing and I told him that since he had seized Anna from me, let him leave me alone but he would not. Whenever we came across each other, he would ask me if I was coming for attack, opening his shirt to show a locally made pistle concealed in his trousers”.
Cross River State Police Command spokesman, DSP John Imoh, said the police were going to carry out detailed investigation into the case, as the suspect “has mentioned other members of his cult group that we must go after”.
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