Our Time Has Come: Cult Politics and Violence in Central Nigeria (Part III)

by ptinti


On Tuesday, May 7, 2013, approximately 100 Nigerian security operatives, including members of elite combat units and intelligence officers, approached the remote village of Alakyo. By the next day, almost all of them were dead. This is Part III in a series of articles about Ombatse, the “cult” that stands accused of kidnapping, forcibly converting, and killing hundreds of people in Nigeria.

If you are new to this story, please read Part I and Part II of this series, which can be found here and here, respectively.

ASSAKIO, Nigeria — During my investigation into the killings in Nasarawa state, I obtained hundreds of pages of documents and official testimony from a range of people and organizations. The accounts read with a false precision that clarifies little. As with most attempts to reveal dark plots and definitively discredit the claims of others, much of the testimony relies on giving an impression of extreme specificity.

Many of these documents dwell on the alleged rituals of Ombatse, emphasizing mysterious gatherings, the use of potions, and forced conversions. Few of these reports examined the possibility that Ombatse’s rise might be tied to something less extraordinary but no less lethal: electoral politics.

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