From Tony John, Port Harcourt
No fewer than 11 persons were yesterday, killed by gunmen suspected to be cultists in Mgbuoshimini community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State.
But the state police command confirmed that 10 persons lost their lives in the incident, which occurred in the early hours of the day.
Among the victims of the shooting, whose names could not be ascertained at press time, were a couple, a nursing mother, women and young men. The killing occurred 72 hours after two persons were shot dead in the same community by armed men.
It was gathered that the gunmen invaded the waterfront in Agip area of Port Harcourt at about 4am and opened fire on residents within the vicinity. Daily Sun further gathered that the hoodlums came into the community through the waterfront and attacked an area vastly occupied by the peasants.
The residents, who were displaced and had no alternative of where to relocate to, had been using tables and mosquito nets to retain their spaces and living at the mercy of criminals. Witness, Nasiru Usman, said the bandits that carried out the operation, attacked mainly the persons, who were affected by the recent demolition of shanties in the area.
Usman claimed that the killers were suspected cultists, who came on a reprisal attack after the killing of two persons by a rival cult group last Thursday. He disclosed that after the incident, there was heavy presence of police operatives with 20 security vans deployed in the area.
When contacted, the State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Nnamdi Omoni, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), confirmed the story.
Omoni, however, could not confirm the perpetrators of the dastardly act, but said that the command had swung into action to track the hoodlums behind the senseless killing.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State government has condemned the killing of some persons in the early hours of yesterday, It has also directed the police and security agencies to fish out the perpetrators of the heinous act at all cost.
This was contained in a statement issued yesterday, in Port Harcourt, by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Barr. Emma Okah, saying, “The state government is ready to spare nothing to support the security agencies get these killers irrespective of where they are found. Even in their holes, smoke them out from there and you should have no rest until we get to the end of the case, until we see justice.”