From Paul Obiajunwo, Port Harcourt
Unidentified criminals believed to be cultists has set ablaze a family house at Okpako-Ejemah in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State killing one Alhaji Hamza Garuba, his wife and a step son.
Mr. Muhammed Sani, younger brother to Garuba, narrated to The Nation that the arsonists, five in number invaded his brother’s house at about 10.00p.m. Tuesday and attempted to rob the family.
Sani said the bandits had attempted to rape wife of Garuba, but that the deceased who was infuriated stabbed one of the bandits to death.
He said: “I believed the stabbing of that criminal may have infuriated other gang members who quickly ran out of the house, locked the entrance door and set the house ablaze. My brother, his wife and a step son were locked up inside the house while the house was on fire. Nobody was at hand to rescue them as all of them were burnt beyond recognition.”
Muhammed stated that killing was not in connection of the clash between Hausa community and task force team in Onne, Eleme LGA, Monday, adding that Garuba was killed by criminals that invaded his house.
However, the Public Relations Officer of Rivers State Police Command, DSP Nnamdi Omoni, confirmed the incident and added that two persons have been arrested in relation to the matter.
Meantime, Arewa Consultative Forum, South-South, South-East branch, has condemned the killing and worried that mischief makers want to cause disunity among Hausa community and the people of Eleme.
Speaking, the Coordinator of the body, Alhaji Musa Saidu, noted that Garuba was killed by bandits, saying: “The incident at Okpako-Ejemah was a clear case of robbery and arsonist attack. The Young man and his family were killed by arsonist who set their house ablaze. Hausa people have co-habited with their host community and they don’t have any issue.”