By Paul Obiajunwo, Port Harcourt
Two indigenes of Omademe community and three others from Omuawa and Ozuaha communities all in Rivers State, were shot dead on Saturday morning in an open gun battle between two rival cult groups.
It was gathered that the cult groups Debam and Dewell have been on rampage in this part of the state for more than two days over supremacy battle.
Thepost gathered that the Saturday morning shootings at Ozuoha community killed one person and left about four persons injured, while the Friday night open shootings at Omademe killed two and injured five persons.
The post visited Omagwa, a neighbouring community to the embattled communities where some indigenes of Omedeme and Ozuaha communities have relocated. The affected members of the communities related their experiences.
Mr. Nnandi Ordu, an indigene of Omedeme community said: “The unknown gunmen entered our community in the night and matched to a Beer Parlour where some youths were drinking and opened fire on them, two persons died instantly and many got injured.
“It was the incident that made some of us to relocate, because we heard some young men discussing on reprisal attack and you know how the cult groups behave whenever they are fighting, that was why we are running for safety”, he said.
Mr. Christopher Onu of Ozuaha community said the Saturday shooting in his community was a reprisal attack by a rival cult group over the killing of their members in Omuawa community two days ago.
He said: “I think the shooting this morning by a particular cult group was in response to what happened at Omuawa community where two of their members were killed. They took everybody by surprise and succeeded in killing one person and many innocent persons were also injured.” Mr. Kevin Amadi, an indigene of Omuawa community where two persons were killed and many injured said: “The fight between the two cult groups started two days ago with tension and anxiety because of the nature of their operation. So far about nine persons have been seriously injured while two cult members have lost their lives”.
“It is not that we are running away from the community, but we have to run for safety in a fight that even the police cannot separate, the cult men from the city have also entered the community to join in the supremacy fight between the two cult groups, Kevin lamented.”
One of the leaders of Degbam cult group who simply gave his name as Philip a.k.a Naked Wire told Thepost on phone that his group Degbam was only trying to maintain the existing structure in those communities.
Naked Wire said: “Bros, if not for you I wouldn’t have answered the call, because I deal with the government not individual. There is no problem in Omuawa, Omedeme and Ozuaha Communities; those who said there is problem are enemies who don’t want us to maintain our structure in the communities.
His words: “It is not a bad news if the communities are running for safety; it is one of those things when lion enters the forest. Don’t worry, I know you are a journalist, just tell the government there is peace.”
When contacted, the Rivers State Police Public Relation Officer, Ben Ugwuebulam, thanked Thepost for briefing him on the matter and said he has taken took note of the troubled areas and promised to get back to us (Thepost) as soon as he got details of the information. He however failed to keep to his promise as at press time.