Cult gangs raid communities in Rivers State

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Residents have fled Rumuodohia, Rumuolumeni in Obio-Akpor local government area in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, after hoodlums suspected to be cultists invaded the communities killing about eight persons and injuring unconfirmed number of persons on Sunday.

The attacks were attributed to a cult group which came on a reprisal mission in search of members of a rival group. Some persons were said to have been shot dead in their rooms during the attacks.

Sporadic gunshots by the suspects led to residents scampering for safety in nearby villages.

It was learnt that the cultists operated between 3am and 5am while the police came after the hoodlums had left.

“It happened in the early hours of today (Sunday), between 3am and 5am. Policemen have actually been deployed there now. The police came after the cultists finished their operation,” the source, who preferred not to be mentioned, said.

The Chairman, Rumuolumeni Community Development Committee, Sunny Odum, described the invasion of the community by members of a cult group as strange, adding that the killing of eight persons was unfortunate.

Odum called on residents of the community not to be afraid, promising that security operatives would soon apprehend those behind the dastardly act.

He urged the residents to go about their normal businesses, adding that measures had been put in place to forestall any recurrence of the incident.

Rivers State Police Command confirmed three persons were killed in the clash in Mgbuodohia, Rumuolumeni, Obio/Akpor LGA.

Spokesman of the command, Nnamdi Omoni, revealed this.

Residents say eight persons were killed in the incident. It was gathered that some of the victims were killed in their rooms while others were hit by stray bullets when the rival cult group stormed the community.

Trouble started Thursday last week, when members of two cult groups demanded illegal levy popularly called ‘marching ground’ from a land developer in the community.

The Rivers police command says it has deployed tactical team to the community while another source said some soldiers are assisting the Police to forestall a reprisal attack.

Last week, residents of Elakahia and Choba communities near the University of Port Harcourt, UNIPORT, both in Obio-Akpor local government area were rattled by sporadic gun shots, looting of shops and the killing of a 35-year old man.

In Ogoniland, the coordinator of a group known as Conscience of Ogoni People, Gani Topba, has called on the military to increase its presence in Khana local government area in particular, and four local government areas of Ogoniland to quell the rising gang wars.

He claimed that more than 10 persons have been killed in Ogoniland in the past week.

Topba called on the security agencies to move quickly to Ogoniland because of the likely selective attacks on leaders of Ogoniland.

“More than 10 lives have been lost in Ogoniland in the past one week. We are not in a Boko Haram territory. The constitution of Nigeria should be brought to bear in Ogoniland. President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state should come to our aid.”

At the time of filing this report, the state government has not reacted to the spate of killings in some parts of the state in recent times.

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