Suspected cult members kill over 20 in Rivers State
Though the motive for the New Year day gruesome murder not known, an atmosphere of fear now pervades the town.
A source in Omoku who pleaded anonymity told The Guardian that gunmen linked to a wanted militia leader at about 12: 20 AM ambushed some persons along Kregani Road, who were returning from church after the cross over service, and started shooting sporadically at them.
He explained that the gunmen whose leader had been declared wanted by the military and the Police also inflicted gunshot wound on some persons who fortunately escaped the killing spree.
A nurse, whose daughter sustained gunshot wound, explained she survived because the motorbike man who was conveying her forced his way through the hail of bullets in order to save the little girl.
A resident of Kregani Street stated that when the gunshots subsided, he heard the gunmen bragging that this was just the beginning of such horrific attacks they intend to launch in the area following the attack on their leader by security forces a few months ago.
The Guardian further gathered that the unknown gunmen also went to Uju community where they allegedly killed a local diver who had assisted security agents to search the Orashi River for the remains of the wanted militia leader when security forces stormed his residence but he escaped through the river.
It was also gathered that the gunmen raided Kirigani and Oboh axis of Aligwu community near Omoku. The Guardian was unable to ascertain the number of those attacked in these other communities.
The Rivers State Police Command spokesperson, Nnamdi Omoni, confirmed the killings, but said the police was yet to ascertain the number of those killed. He however assured that the culprits must be smocked out and prosecuted.
“I can confirm the incident, but at the moment, we cannot confirm the conflicting number of casualties. The Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations and other tactical heads have been mobilised there to restore peace. The Commissioner of Police Zaki Ahmed, has launched a manhunt of the bandits to ensure they are arrested and prosecuted. When the DCP and the teams there conclude, we will know the total number of people involved,” he said.
Reacting to the incident, the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside decried the killing and sympathized with the families of the deceased, saying its another set of deaths too many in a local government area that was held hostage by cult groups claiming supremacy and allegedly enjoying support from some politicians.
He regretted that while other parts of the state were in celebratory mood, the people of ONELGA were mourning the passing away of their beloved in the most gruesome manner.
“My heart goes the people of ONELGA and the immediate families of the deceased. This is an act that must be condemned. The good people of Omoku have suffered enough and this has dealt a further blow on their sufferings,” he stressed.
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