14 February 2016

Nigeria: Suspected Cultists Kill 15 in Rivers

The fragile peace in Omoku Community in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area (ONELGA) of Rivers State was once again ruptured Friday night as about 50 gunmen suspected to cult members stormed the community and killed about 15 persons.

About five months ago, similar member of people were also murdered in Omemu in what the police said was a cult war. Also, within the week, a former member of the House of Assembly, Monday Eleanya, who hails from the area, was murdered in cold blood as he left his Port Harcourt residence.

THISDAY gathered that the gunmen, numbering about 50, armed with cutlasses and different rifles, including AK-47 guns, came into Omoku Town at about 7pm on Friday and began shooting sporadically; a development that caused confusion within the area. Sources said while some residents of the area ran into nearby bushes and neighbouring villages, others had continued to stay indoors more than 12 hours after the incident occurred.

Some of the gunmen were said to have moved from house to house and scared residents with their intermittent, but deafening gunshots. One source said through the telephone that some of the 15 persons that were killed were beheaded by their assailants. He disclosed that among those killed were a couple and two brothers from the same parents, while half of those killed were beheaded.

He said some of the worst hit areas in Omoku were Sabo Road, Odieti Quarters, Usoniri Quarters and Obakata Quarters. He said, "Gunmen last night (Friday) took over Omoku, killing not less than 15 persons. Among those killed were husband and wife as well as two brothers from the same parents. Half of those killed were beheaded by their attackers.

"It started at about 7pm on Friday when we heard the sound of gunshots. We were told that some unknown gunmen numbering up to 50 came into Omoku Town and began to shoot indiscriminately.

"Those outside ran for their dear lives and we that were inside have continued to stay indoors in order not to be hit by the gunmen's bullet. It was a terrible situation."

The State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Ahmad Muhammad (DSP), confirmed the incident, but said only six persons, who were members of a cult group, were killed.

He, "The incident is reasonably believed to be a battle of supremacy between rival cult groups in the town. As it is now, the situation is under control as anti-riot policemen were drafted to reinforce the existing security in the town. As for casualties, six dead bodies of the suspected cultists were recovered."

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