The Rivers State Police Command has confirmed the killing of six persons during a violent protest by angry youths in Chokocho, Etche Local Government Area of the state.
The command’s spokesman, Nnamdi Omoni, confirmed the killing in a statement in Port Harcourt, the state capital, yesterday.
He debunked some media reports that 15 persons were killed during an alleged deadly attack on commuters travelling through Etche communities to Owerri and beyond.
“The social media reports added that the angry youths also burnt a police station as well as engaged the army and police in a gun battle.
“Ordinarily, we would have ignored this baseless and unverifiable report that is intended to cause panic and tension in the state.
“In order not to allow the public form a dangerous opinion, we, therefore, thought it wise and expedient to correct this fake news,” he stated.
Omoni said the command had deployed mobile policemen after receiving a distress call on December 7, following a blockage of Okomoko-Chokocho Bridge by protesters.
He said policemen, on arrival at the scene, dismantled the barricade and restored normalcy to the area.
“Thereafter, a team led by the Divisional Police Officer, Joseph Anche, recovered five bodies in a river in the area.
“This discovery, however, sparked off another round of protest, which our men were able to contain.
“At the end of the day, six persons were killed contrary to the 15 deaths reported, while no police station was burnt and no commuter was attacked and killed as speculated,” he said.
The police spokesman said that normalcy had been restored to the area with the state Commissioner of Police, Mustapha Dandaura, launching a fullscale investigation on the killings.
He added that the investigation would enable the police to determine the circumstances surrounding the killings as well as unravel the identities of the perpetrators of the crime.
“So, Dandaura is appealing to residents of Etche to remain calm and trust in the ability of the command to protect their lives and property,” he said