Gunmen suspected to be cultists have invaded the Kabangha community in the Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State, killed two persons and critically injured another.
One of the victims, identified as Blessing Nwinne, was killed on Easter Sunday, while the second, Emeka Erasmus, had his hands severed by the assailants.
It was leant that the gun-wielding cultists stormed the community just after dinner, shot indiscriminately in the air, went into the victim’s compound and shot him several times in the neck to ensure he was dead.
It was also leant that another victim, who was shot by the cultists, survived and was rushed to hospital.
Though it was not clear if the attack was a reprisal, but sources said the gunshots sent the area into panic as villagers remained in their houses even at dawn.
The younger brother of the deceased, Kingston Nwinne, who conformed Blessing’s killing to our correspondent on the telephone, said his brother was not a cultist.
“They came last night and my brother was not even feeling fine and was lying down. They shattered his neck with bullets. He was in a pool of his own blood. I reported the matter to the police and went to bury him,” he stated.
Kingston called on the police to investigate the matter and fish out his brother’s killers, adding, “He was not a cultist. He was not even making trouble.”
In a separate development, about 22 tricycles were completely burnt during a fire outbreak at a mechanic workshop on the Eagle Cement Road, Iwofe in the Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state on Monday.
Our correspondent, who visited the scene, reports that wood and fabrication tools were also razed.
Eyewitnesses said the fire was caused by persons engaging in illegal oil bunkering, popularly known as ‘kpofire’ in the area, even as they said fire fighters were not available to extinguish the inferno when it started around 2am.
One of the victims said, “They are doing kpofire (illegal bunkering) here. It’s the kpofire that caused the fire; all our keke are burnt. We don’t have anything again.
“The person doing the kpofire has fled. He has even packed out of his house. Now, I don’t have anything with which to take care of my family.”
Another resident, whose tricycle was burnt, said, “I don’t know where I want to start from. It is the illegal petroleum business they are doing here that caused this fire.”
On his part, the mechanic said, “My shop and the spare parts inside all got burnt. What I have lost here is above N12m.”
The victims called on the state government to come to their aid.
Efforts to reach the spokesman for the state police command, Nnamdi Omoni, were unsuccessful as he did not take his calls or reply to a text message sent to his mobile telephone as of the time of filing this report.