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Cultists slaughter children, parents in Rivers community

This report chronicles how a group of unknown gunmen raided a community in Rivers State in a bloody massacre on February 13.

In Ogba/ Ndoni/Egbema Local Government
Area of Rivers State, killing of human beings means nothing to a group
of unknown persons that have made it their hobby. At least, Mrs.
Patience Adube, the wife of one of the victims of the ongoing gruesome
killings in the area called by the acronym ONELGA, attested to this fact
after her husband and children were massacred in a night raid by
heavily armed hoodlums.
Each time the blood-thirsty group appear
in the area, residents flee into the bush or stay indoors and pray that
their houses are not marked for attack.
One of the residents, who said he was
shell-shocked on the last raid carried out by the night marauders, told
our correspondent that in ONELGA, the killings had been tagged ‘Point
and Kill’. This is ordinarily a term used to describe the killing of
fresh fish for immediate consumption. But the people of the area,
especially those from Omoku, a beautiful town in ONELGA, use this as
code words for the brazen and barefaced attack on residents of the
place.
If the attack on residents in September
2015 by the suspected cultists did not raise much concern, that of
February 13, 2016 was most worrisome. Before then, the area has had a
history of unprovoked mass murder with no solution in sight.
Houses located in Usoniri Quarters, Sabo
Road and Obakata Quarters were among those attacked by the
blood-thirsty, men said to be cultists. In all, fifteen people were
killed across nine houses were in the latest attack.
A resident of the community, Pa Benedict
Ajie, who is a neighbour to two young men who were shot at close range
on Ndoni Street, Omoku, narrated how a group of armed men entered the
house and carried out the killing.
Pa Ajie, who is in his 80s, said the victims were his distant relations.
“They (gunmen) were many; they came
around 9pm and when we saw them, we ran inside the house. The truth is
that we don’t know where they came from. We were hiding inside when we
heard the sound of gunshots and by the time everything had settled, we
came out and saw the corpses of the two men,” the octogenarian said.
Pa Ajie explained that though the
Divisional Police Officer in the area visited the crime scene at about
10am the following day, it was necessary for security agents to turn
their searchlight to ONELGA in order to put an end to the wave of
cold-blooded murder of indigenes and residents of the area. He added
that the two men killed by their assailants had no link to cultism and
were not members of any political party.
The attack on one of the houses on Elder
Samuel Osere Street in Omoku was equally horrifying as four young
persons, including an SS 3 student identified as Chisom, were shot. He
(Chisom) was said to be preparing to take his school certificate
examination when he was shot several times in the head. Strangely, two
of the victims shot on the street were beheaded, while their heads were
taken away.
A source, who preferred not to be
mentioned for the fear of being attacked in future said they have been
living in fear since the incident, adding that the sight of headless
bodies and blood splattered everywhere inside the building will send
cold shivers into the spine of even the strongest among men. “The place
is closed now because it is a crime scene and other tenants have
deserted the building,” the source added.
Saturday PUNCH learnt that the
police have been patrolling the street and other places close to it with
a view to forestalling a recurrence. Many have expressed fear that most
of the killers were still lurking around Omoku Town for another
opportunity to strike again.
Few metres away is Umuimegi Street,
where another group of assailants attacked house no. 19. The killings
were carried out almost at the same time. Residents recalled seeing
dozens of assailants move in and shooting their targets without
hesitation.
Elemchukwu Uge, a 31-year-old butcher
was shot at close range inside his room. Two others, who were tenants in
the house, including a contract employee of an oil company were also
mowed down by the assailants’ bullets.
Narrating how his son was killed by the
invaders, Mr. Martin Uge, told Saturday PUNCH, “We were inside the house
around 9pm when some unknown gunmen forcefully entered the yard. They
checked and searched everywhere. Unfortunately, they killed my
31-year-old son, Elemchukwu, in his room.
“I could not look at their faces because
of fear. Two other persons, Anthony Okara, a driver with Agip and Emeka
John from Erema, were killed that day; they were my tenants. One of
them, a native of Erima, came to rent one of the rooms in my house
because of the crisis in Erima. He came here just in December 2015. But
they still came to my house and killed him.
“The gunmen only took away my phone. Personally, I am not suspecting anybody because I don’t have a case with anybody.”
On another street close by, Umuenyika,
an aged woman, Madam Blessing Izeh, has been inconsolable since two of
her children were forced outside their house and shot several times in
her presence. The bodies of the men were said to have been riddled with
bullets. Their mother insisted that her children, Okey Izeh (37) and Eze
Izeh (25), had nothing to do with cultism or politics before they were
killed.
“My children were not cultists; they
were not politicians. They (gunmen) came and pushed them out of the
house and killed them in front of everyone. They did not belong to any
political party and had never been involved in any crime. Why have they
denied me the joy of reaping the fruits of my labour?” Madam Izeh
queried.
However, sympathisers have continued to
troop into the compound of the Izehs, even as the people of the area
wondered why a group of men would enter a community and embark on serial
murder without any form of provocation.
Not done with their killing spree, the
killers marched to No.13 Umuchikere Street and unleashed another round
of mayhem, killing the breadwinner of the house, Mr. EmekaAhiakwo.
Again, this victim was beheaded and his head taken away by his
assailants. Members of the family were all with swollen eyes after
wailing for over three days.
Wife of the victim, Mrs. Helen Ahiakwo,
explained that the incident happened at about 5pm, adding that she raced
down to her home immediately she got a call that her husband was in a
serious danger. According to her, she met her husband’s bullet ridden
body without the head. Ahiakwo was buried almost immediately in front of
his house.
One of the residents of the area
attributed the killings to the activities of some unscrupulous
politicians, who armed the youths for election and could not retrieve
the guns from them.
“These politicians can do anything to
win elections and the killings are just to instil fear in the people so
that the politicians, who sponsor these ‘boys’ can always have their
way,” the resident said.
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