From: TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Suspected arsonists have killed a family of three by setting ablaze their house at Okpako-ejemah in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The arsonists, suspected to be cultists, invaded the victims’ apartment at night, killing the occupants, Alhaji Hamza Garuba, his wife and a stepson.
Daily Sun gathered from Garuba’s younger brother, Muhammed Sani, that the suspects, who were five in number, invaded his late brother’s house at about 10.00pm and attempted to rob the family.
According to Sani, one of the bandits attempted to rape his brother’s wife before the husband, but did not succeed, adding that the deceased stabbed the bandit to death.
He said: “I believe the stabbing of that criminal may have infuriated other gang members, who quickly ran out of the house, locked the entrance door and set the house ablaze.
“My brother, his wife and a step son were locked up inside the house, while the house was on fire. Nobody was at hand to rescue them as all of them were burnt beyond recognition.
“I don’t know why people should contemplate carrying out such wicked act on my brother. My brother was a trailer driver.
“He was such quite and a peaceful man who go about his business without making trouble with anybody.
“He was born in Rivers State and has lived in the State for decades. His late wife is from Kalabari and they have been living peacefully without any problem,” he stayed.
Speaking further, Sani debunked media reports linking his brother’s death to the recent confrontation between Hausa community and the task force unit in Onne , Port Harcourt, saying that Garuba was killed by criminals that invaded his apartment.
Confirming the incident, the South-South, South East Coordinator of Arewa Consultative Forum, Alhaji Musa Saidu, said that Garuba was killed by bandits.
He said mischief makers wanted to cause disunity between Hausa community and the people of Eleme by alluding a clear incident of armed robbery and arsonist attack to ethnic and religious clashes.
He stated: “The incident at Okpako-ejemah was a clear case of robbery and arsonist attacks. The young man and his family were killed by arsonists who set their house ablaze. Hausa people have co- habited with their host community and they don’t have any issue”.
Alhaji Saidu called on the Police to carry out a thorough investigation on the matter.
The State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Nnamdi Omoni, a Deputy Superintendent of Poilce (DSP), has confirmed the incident to journalists, saying that two persons had been arrested in connection with the attack.