A total of 15 persons were murdered Sunday at Mgboshimili area of Obio Akpor Local Government Area by unknown gunmen.
The Rivers State Police spokesman, Mr Nnamdi Omoni who confirmed the painful incident, put the death toll at 10.
Community sources told the Vanguard that three of those killed roasted to death in their apartment. They said the assailants shot at a gas cylinder in their apartment, an act that triggered wild fire which consumed them. “One of the three burnt beyond recognition in an apartment in the area was a lady.”
As at press time, some of the corpses of those killed had not been removed. I t was reported that some gunmen stormed the community at about 3 a.m. in speed boats, heading to the slaughter area around a market in the community and killing two persons suspected to be guarding cows meant for sale. Still undone, they visited an apartment where they set a portion of the building ablaze after shooting three persons and killing five females.
According to community sources who did not want their names in print, five of those killed were females, including a pregnant lady while the others were men. “A woman, her husband and a widow’s only son were among those killed,” the source said.
Nobody could say what provoked the blood-letting. But community sources said there had been clashes among rival groups in the area, adding that two persons were shut dead last week.
“Some of us think it was a reprisal attack. But we cannot say for certain. But the community has not been peaceful for some time now,” a source said.
In the meantime, the Police spokesman, DSP Omoni, said preliminary investigation showed that the attack was carried out by suspected members of a dreaded cult group- Icelanders, adding that some of the assailants had been identified and would be arrested.
He said the policemen were combing the area for details. “Unknown gunmen invaded Mgboshimili. At the time we got there we confirmed ten dead. Some persons were taken to the hospital. Preliminary investigations revealed that it was carried out by Icelanders. They came through the waterways. We are combing the area. And our men have been deployed there to ensure peace.”
One of those who lost a relative said the family had resolved to immediately bury the corpse since it was burnt beyond recognition. “The mortuary people cannot take care of the corpse so we are burying immediately,” he said.
Governor Nyesom Wike had commiserated with families of those killed, but accused the Police of allegedly politicising security in the state.
Wike, who spoke in Government House, Port Harcourt Sunday when he received Course participants of the National Defence College on tour of the state, said because of the alleged politicisation of security matters in the state by the high command of the Police, the state Police Commissioner, Mr. Zaki Ahmed would probably only communicate the ugly incidents to him on phone instead of meeting with him on how they should build security architecture in the state.