By Godwin Anene
At least 16 persons were feared killed in two separate incidents Sunday as bloody cult battles rage in Rivers state.
Police in the state confirmed only seven dead in the latest clashes, but community sources alleged that at Kono Boue and Gbam Boue communities of Khana Local Government Area, LGA, alone, 14 persons were killed while two were killed in Ishiodu, Emohua LGA.
It was also gathered that at least seven people were abducted by bandits who struck in the Khana communities of Ogoniland, just as several property were destroyed.
The clash in Khana is believed to have been provoked by reprisal from the Iceland cult group over the killing of notable member of their gang a few days ago in the area.
Paramount ruler of Kono Bo-ue, HRH Mene Taalor Tornwe, described the Khana incident as shocking, alleging that the cultists were incited against him and other members of the community.
Tornwe, Mene Bua Boue IV, whose palace was torched among other buildings in the melee said he had carried out the orders of Governor Nyesom Wike on traditional rulers to restore peace in their domain, but regretted that some perons incited the cultists against him.
Community Development Committee Chairman of the community, Prince Christian Borlo-One, said the death toll on the incident could be as high as 40, adding that some perons were beheaded and five abducted alive.
Borlo-One while condemning the activities of the violent gangs also called on the government and security agencies to urgently intervene to avoid the community being totally deserted.
Police Public Relations Officer, Rivers Command, DSP. Nnamdi Omoni, said, “The police is aware of the incident at Khana and Emohua. We are on top of the situations.
“When the incidents happened, the Commissioner of Police, Usman Belel mobilised men to the area and peace has been restored. We are also calling on the people who fled the community to return because our men are on the ground to give security.”