Five Feared Dead As Police, Hoodlums Clash In Rivers …Bille Sea Piracy Claims One, Others Injured …Community Sends SOS To FG

Rivers State Governorship Election Tribunal, yesterday.

No fewer than five persons were feared dead in Nkpolu community, Rumuigbo in Obio-Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, yesterday, following an exchange of gun shots between security operatives and unknown gunmen at a burial programme in the area.
An eyewitness account has it that trouble started when the youths of Nkpolu community were returning from an undisclosed mortuary in Port Harcourt where the corpse of late Aleruchi Woke, allegedly shot, last year, by police during a protest by the youths to draw attention of the State Government to the deteriorating state of Nkpolu section of the East-West Road.
The source further said that the exchange of gunfire lasted for about four hours, leaving five persons dead, while scores were reportedly wounded during the clash.
Sources who are resident in the community told The Tide that in the course of the ugly encounter, security operatives’ bullets hit and killed three persons while armed youths in the area killed two persons.
The Tide correspondent, who visited the community, yesterday, reports that residents and passersby were seen scampering for their safety, while a section of the community was deserted.
A few persons were seen in groups at different locations around the area discussing, in hush tones, the untoward development.
One of the residents, who did not want his name in print, alleged that ‘bad boys’ had taken advantage of the situation to unleash terror on the community.
He told The Tide that the armed youths who engaged security operatives in the gun duel were alleged cultists who had been involved in all manner of criminal activities in the community, and elsewhere in the state.
When contacted, the Spokesperson of the Rivers State Police Command, DSP Nnamdi Omoni, who confirmed the incident, said that the command has drafted officers to the area to maintain peace, law and order.
Omoni, however, could not confirm whether there was any casualty during the clash.
Meanwhile, the frequent sea piracy along the Bille water ways in Degema Local Government Area has claimed one life, as two other persons were fatally wounded.
The incident occurred along the New Calabar River, a popular route of Bille passenger boats, as pirates allegedly dressed in military camouflage killed one Abraham Alex and fatally wounded Diepriye Isaac and Ori-Ipirite Ebi.
Similar incident had occurred on 2nd and 3rd June this year when passengers were asked to jump into the river as the hoodlums made away with their properties, including the boat boarded. Life has become unbearable within the Bille Kingdom by reason of the unprovoked attacks by these unidentified gunmen,” said Alabo Benneth Okpokiye-Dokubo, Chairman Bille Kingdom Chiefs Council.
Consequently, The Amayanabo- in- Council, the Chiefs and people of Bille has sent a Save Our Soul (SOS) to the federal government over incessant attacks by sea pirates.
In a three paragraph prayers, the chiefs called on the State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike to urgently put measures in place to curb the menace.
It also called on the federal government to order the relevant security agencies to come to the aid of the community, as the people are helpless.
Calling on the Rivers State House of Assembly to urgently make public its findings on the investigation into the incessant attacks on Bille passenger boats.
Recall that last week, a House of Assembly Ad Hoc Committee chaired by Hon, Dumle Maol of Gokana Constituency submitted a report on the Bille passenger boats attack.
The committee among other recommendations urged that security be beefed up aslong the route and that all passenger boats be given military escorts.
But Chief Okpokiye-Dokubo said recently the army stopped escorting its passenger boats thereby exposing the people to fresh attacks by pirates.