Wednesday, October 16, 2019 9:32 am
…Houses set ablaze as residents flee
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Four persons were reportedly shot dead while several houses were burnt in Etche Local Government of Rivers State in a clash between rival cult groups that started on the night Sunday October 13 and ended the next day.
The area most affected is Okehi, the headquarters of Etche Local Government Area where the four lives were reportedly lost while several others were injured and houses burnt.
An eyewitness, John Nwubualili, who is the Coordinator of Forum Chairmen of Community Development Committees CDCs, in the State claimed four persons were killed in four Communities in Okehi kingdom.
He said at least four deaths were recorded in areas called Okehi one and two in clashes of rival cults groups which threw the communities into confusion.
Nwubualili raised the alarm that if security agencies don’t move in quickly, the cult clashes in the are can degenerate beyond what played out in 2014 and 2015 when many were killed in the area.
Another source from Okehi said trouble started when some members of Degbam cult shot and killed a man who was a member of Deywell cult in Okehi community.
He said this led to clashes which claimed lives in Ulakwo, Igbodo and Mba communities in Etche LGA. ‘’About three or four houses have also been burnt down in Okehi, while thousands of residents have fled for fear of being caught in the middle of the crossfire,” the source said.
However, the Rivers State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Nnamdi Omoni, who confirmed the clash claimed that no casualty was recorded. ‘‘No life was lost. Men of the tactical team have been asked to relocate to the troubled places in order to forestall any form of reprisal.’’
He said when clashes like this occurs things are exaggerated to cause panic.
He said, ‘’those who claimed lives were lost should come forward and show us where they dead bodies are. Like I said, our tactical team is on ground to do the needful and furnish us with their findings’’.