Unknown gunmen, numbering about 30, have reportedly killed four persons in Rumuoro community in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State, following mid-day raid by suspected assassins.
The gunmen, who stormed the once peaceful community at about 12:45pm, shot sporadically to scare away villagers, who scampered for safety, amid tempered confusion, and calls for help.
Some of the villagers, who saw a number of the rampaging gunmen, alleged that the attackers were indigenes of Okporowo Ogbakiri.
Eyewitnesses told reporters that in the aftermath of the shooting, one Pastor Joseph Iheme from Igodo’s compound was shot and killed instantly in the river while fishing with his son, Mr Godknows Iheme.
According to sources, Godknows narrowly escaped the attackers’ bullets while his father’s corpse was taken away by the attackers.
It was further gathered that a pregnant girl from Kpalikwu-Imoh’s compound, Miss Queen Ada Amah, was taken away and murdered by the attackers.
Sources said that Ada was slaughtered at a separate location, and her unborn baby taken away, apparently for ritual purposes.
Community sources told TPCN that Mr Kingsley Owhonda of Woke’s compound, who went for fishing on the fateful day, was taken away alive to the same neighbouring bush where Ada was murdered, tied on the tree and amputated until he gave up the ghost.
According to sources, “Miss Mini Elizabeth from Igodo’s compound was captured along-side Queen Amah. They both went to the stream to fetch water at the same Rumuoro river. We heard she was buried alive by the same people”.
TPCN learnt that Mr Godknows Iheme, who escaped the terrifying attack, quickly ran to the community where he alerted the people on the killing of his father by members of a suspected armed group, allegedly from Okporowo community.
According to Godknows, some group of armed men, numbering more than 30, attacked Rumuoro through the river boundaries and directly shot his father who slumped immediately after being shot.
Godknows claimed that while running away, he also saw other members of same group holding two girls who also went to the river to fetch water from the stream.
He alleged to have seen one Mr Jackson Eme aka Jakande, Mr Abuchi Elenga aka Abuja, Mr Lucky Alikor aka Topper, Mr Chinedu Ndala aka China, and Mr Kudos, all with AK-47 rifles.
Godknows claimed that some other members of the gang, now at large, were also wielding AK-47 rifles, even as they desperately searched the area for more victims.
A community source told TPCN that it was only after the dastardly act had been perfected that the security agents swooped on the area where the attack took place.
It was further learnt that when the security agents cordoned off the area, they were, however, unable to access the scene of the killing of Pastor Joseph Iheme in the river.
When the search team came back, it was later discovered that one Mr Kingsley Owhonda who also went to the river was taking away alongside the two girls.
Sources said that a day after the attack; hundreds of youth of Rumuoro visited the scene in search of their loved ones but could not find any of the four persons.
According to community sources, the search team, however, discovered a fishing net, two female clothes, two pairs of male trousers and clothes and a jerry can rubber, all belonging to the victims of the attack.
The community sources alleged that the same group from Okporowo community had at various times over the last couple of years, invaded Rumuoro community, killing more than 10 persons in different attacks.
However, the leaders of Rumuoro community have appealed to the security agents to come to their aid, urging that the suspected armed gangs should be arrested and brought to justice.
Confirming TPCN enquiries on the alleged murder of the victims, the Rivers State Police PPRO, DSP Nnamdi Omoni confirmed the killings and urged the community to calm down as security agents are doing their best to arrest the culprits and prosecute them according to the law.
In his speech, the PPRO said we are aware of the killings in Rumuoro, and the investigation is on going to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the killings and bring the hoodlums to book.