Seven persons lost their lives while several others were injured following clashes between two cults in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State.
It was gathered that trouble started on Saturday when members of the Deywell group attacked a member of the rival Deygbam in the Igbodo community, which led to the death of the victim on Sunday.
In what appeared to be a reprisal, six persons suspected to be innocent were shot dead in different communities in the local government area on Sunday.
An eyewitness in the area told PUNCH Metro that the rivalry among the groups started a long time ago, but escalated on Sunday following the death of one of the groups’ members after an attack.
The source, said residents and business owners in the affected areas were living and working in fear.
The source stated, “The Deywell people have been trying to dominate the area, but the Degbam group is resisting. We heard that the Deywell group had been forcing some members of the Degbam cult to join them.
“So, on Saturday, the Deywell group killed a member of the Degbam at Igbodo around 3pm. That was what warranted the Deygbam boys to go and mobilise and launch their attacks. Two persons were shot at Mba, while four others were also shot at Agbalu.
“Six people have been killed so far from what I heard, while several others have been taken to hospitals for treatment.”
The source added that business in the area had yet to resume fully as residents and business owners were still afraid.
“The Igbodo, Agbalu, Mba, Akwukabi, Obidi and Okehi communities were affected. As of this morning, business activities have yet to resume fully, because people are still afraid,” the source added.
When contacted, the spokesman for the Rivers State Police Command, Mr Nnamdi Omoni, said the situation had been contained and investigation had commenced.
He said, “We are on it and we have been able to stabilise the affected communities.
“We got a report that a yet-to-be-identified cult had been causing mayhem there. Our men are there now and the situation has been contained; normalcy has been restored and investigation is ongoing.”