Four male undergraduate students of the University of the Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) were killed last Friday by a mob in Umuokiri community, Aluu, in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, on allegations of armed robbery.
Eyewitnesses who spoke to journalists said the boys were arrested about 5am by a team of vigilantes who alleged that the suspects were armed with axes and knives. The witness gave the names of the victims as Ugonna, Lloyd, Tamunotekena and Chidiaka. They were alleged to have stolen blackberry phones and laptops in the community where they were staying in an off-campus hostel.
Although there was no official report of any robbery incident in the area, the witnesses said the vigilantes claimed the boys were picked up because they acted suspiciously.
Meanwhile, some students of UNIPORT have expressed outrage over the lynching of their colleagues. They said the suspects should have been handed over to the police for proper investigation and prosecution.
The spokesman of the Rivers State Police Command, Ben Ugwuegbulam, confirmed the incident and said that an attempt by the police to rescue the suspects proved abortive. He said investigation would be carried out on the matter.
However, Toku Mike, the father of one of the victims, Lloyd Toku, has denied that his son was an armed robber. Mike, a broadcaster with Radio Rivers, said his son was a decent young man. He called on the police to investigate the killings and bring the perpetrators to book.
Also lamenting the incident, Ann Elkanah, a sister to one of the victims, Tamunotekena, said the family wanted justice for the killing of her only brother. She said Tamuno was innocent of the allegations levelled against him.