All is not well in the garden city of Port Harcourt as persons suspected to be cultists last week,(Wednesday) at Ula-Upata in the Ahoada East Local Government Area murdered about ten persons in cold blood.
Frank Alabi, a resident of the area narrated to the Vanguard Metro VM how the mindless killers operated that black Wednesday. According to him, he was sleeping in his room when suddenly he was woken up by gunshots. “ This was about 12.05 am because I looked at the time as I peeped from my window and saw about five men heavily armed,” he explained.
According to him, three of the men had AK 47 riffle while the other two carried Pump Action. “ I sensed they were evil men and quickly sneaked out of the room and fled into the bush,” Alabi said, adding that from where he hid himself in a nearby bush, he monitored every move and action of the killers, how they went round the community murdering people in cold blood.
“First I called the Police before I called the JTF in Ahoada. The assassins operated for close to one hour unchallenged,” he alleged.
For Alabi, it was a clear case of sponsored assassination. “ From what I saw in the bush, I believe they were paid assassins, not cultists as alleged by the Police,” he said,
Another community source who simply gave his name as Kingdom said the rampaging cultists also extended their chilling act to Ubeta, Ihubuluko, Oyigba and Ogoda communities where they killed about seven more persons, thus making the number of those murdered that night alone about seventeen. Continuing, he said that while the assassins were busy murdering their targets in cold blood, vigilante groups in several communities quickly mounted barricades at some points which resulted in the arrest of one of the assassins who was later handed over to security agencies.
Confirmation by Police
Meantime, the State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Ahmad Muhammad confirmed the death of eight persons when contacted for comment on the ugly development. According to him, it was largely a fall out of a cult-related crisis.
“The incident was more of cult related heinous activity at Ula Upata community, Ahoada East Local Government Area. Eight persons were killed. Quick intervention by our men stalled the situation from escalating. One of the suspected cultists was arrested and an English pump action gun recovered from him. Investigation is right now ongoing,” he said.
Former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Chibudom Nwuche wept as he spoke to VM on the sad incident. He charged the Police and other security operatives to do more to secure lives and properties in the area.
Traditional ruler of Ekpeye land, His Majesty, Eze Robinson O. Robinson also lamented the upsurge of cult- related killings and crime in the area. He said about 56 persons have so far been murdered in cold blood in cult related circumstances while the hoodlums have kidnapped about 40 persons.
Crippled social life: “At the last count, over 56 persons have been murdered in cold blood by these criminals with over 40 kidnap cases. Ahoada metropolis is taking the lead. Our social life has been crippled,” he said.
According to the monarch the security situation had become so bad that women avoided their farms for fear of being raped by the hoodlums.
“Our wives are being raped by these miscreants in the presence of their husbands. Our daughters were also abused by these criminals. In fact, our women no longer go to farms to fetch food but whenever they do they go in groups for fear of rapists and cultists who have invaded our bushes.” the traditional ruler said.
The monarch who appealed for increased security presence in communities in the area enjoined communities in his domain to unite against the senseless acts of cultism ruining the area. “I invite yo all to join me in the battle against criminality. Join me to protect lives and properties of our people,” he said
Cultists kill another three in Isiokpo: The dust generated by the callous killing in Ahoada East had hardly settled down when suspected cultists again stormed Isiokpo, headquarters of Ikwerre Local Government Area, killing three persons .
Eye witnesses said the rampaging killers shot dead three persons unchallenged before they fled. The State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Ahmad Muhammad confirmed the ugly development but said details were sketchy when he was contacted. The killers who allegedly set houses ablaze, were said to have operated in military uniform.
Doctors protest incessant kidnap: Still on the insecurity, members of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA Rivers State chapter have protested frequent abduction of their members. Marching peacefully on the streets in Port Harcourt to denounce incessant kidnap of their members by hoodlums, the doctors said they were worried because they (doctors) have become target for abduction.
The protesting doctors assembled at the premises of the Department of State Security on Forces Avenue in Port Harcourt, displaying several placards with inscriptions condemning attacks on their members in various hospitals. They were also joined by the Rivers State chapter of the Civil Liberties Organisation.
Dr. Ibitorukuemi Kurubo who spoke to newsmen during the protest said 11 of their members were taken hostage within one month, adding that 21 of them were taken hostage last year.
The doctors enjoined security agencies in the state to secure their lives. They also marched peacefully to the headquarters of the Rivers State Police command on Moscow Road. The State Commissioner of Police, Mr Musa Kimo expressed sympathy over the plight of the doctors, assuring that the police will continue to do its best to guarantee their safety.