A 51-year-old woman, Elizabeth David, has been arrested alongside four suspected cultists for allegedly beating her son-in-law and pregnant daughter to a pulp.
The woman, a native of Odariko village, Igbeagu community in the Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, and the four suspected cultists were nabbed by policemen attached to the Iboko Division.
They were arrested on Friday after allegedly beating and tying Mr Chibuzo Mbam and his wife, Ogonna, with a rope.
Trouble started when Ogonna, who was sent to the area by her parents for academic pursuit, abandoned her studies and ran to Chibuzo, who impregnated her.
The development was said to have angered her parents and siblings.
It was gathered that Ogonna’s family had made several efforts to stop the marriage, but to no avail, as she was said to have repeatedly maintained that she would rather die than to leave Chibuzo.
A source, who spoke with news men on condition of anonymity, said, “Last week, Ogonna’s elder brother, Nnabuike David, who is sponsoring her through school, came back from his place of business.
“He mobilised some men suspected to be cult members and numbering about six. They invaded the neighbouring community, where Ogonna lives with Chibuzo and forced the couple to their compound.
“They tied the couple and beat them black and blue, which attracted the attention of the villagers, who went to rescue them.
“The shocking news got to villagers from the neighbouring community that their son and his wife were held hostage after severe beating and they quickly swung into action.
“The community had to engage vigilantes, who arrested those accused of beating the couple, and brought them to the village playground; but after their interrogation, Elizabeth, who is known for her stubbornness, asked them to go.
“This led the villagers to report the case to the community stakeholders, who in turn, invited the police, who got them arrested.”
Efforts by news men to speak with policemen at the Iboko Police Division on the matter proved futile.
The police personnel said they were not ready to comment on the incident as of the time of filling this report.
One of the policemen, who spoke to news men on condition of anonymity, said the division’s main aim was to prevent the crisis from escalating and being hijacked by miscreants in the area.
Also, efforts to get the reaction of the Ebonyi State Police Command on the matter were unsuccessful.
The command’s spokesperson, Loveth Odah, could not be reached on her mobile telephone line.
A source in the command said she was attending a workshop outside the state.
The traditional ruler of the Igbeagu Autonomous Community, Ogbonnaya Ukwa, said such a matter should have been amicably settled by the woman’s family.
Ukwa added that the community was happy with the arrest of Elizabeth and members of her son’s gang, stressing that it would serve as a deterrent to others in the future.