About 14 persons have allegedly been killed in Sime community in Tai Local Government Area of Rivers State, following an invasion of the area, last Thursday night, by gunmen suspected to be cultists.
It was gathered that unknown gunmen invaded the community, shooting sporadically; a development that left many dead while several others had bullet wounds.
A community source, who confirmed the incident under condition of anonymity, stated that the remains of the victims had been deposited in a private mortuary in the area.
The development, according to the source, has caused uneasy calm in the area as some people were seen, at the weekend, leaving for the neighbouring communities.
It would be recalled that penultimate Saturday, a gateman attached to a politician in Sime and his uncle, were killed by unknown gunmen.
But the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for House of Representatives, Oyigbo-Eleme-Tai Federal Constituency in the 2015 elections, Dr Jacobson Nbina, who is a native of the affected community, described the killings as politically-motivated.
Nbina insisted that over 20 members of the PDP were killed in the attack, alleging that scores were still missing.
He said, “my brothers and sisters, please, help to pray for Sime community. The worst has just happened to me again! I earlier informed you of last weekend’s invasion of my home, and the brutal killing of my security guard and my uncle, with my driver escaping with bullet wounds at my gate.
“As I speak to you, over 20 PDP youths of my community, Sime-Tai, were brutally murdered, and several others taken away alive as unknown gunmen invaded my community midnight of yesterday (Thursday),” Nbina stated.
When contacted, the Rivers State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Nnamdi Omoni, confirmed the incident in Tai.
He, however, quickly added that the casualty figure had not been ascertained, and therefore, was not sure of the death toll of 14 being alleged.
Omoni said, “yes, I can confirm to you that the incident happened in Tai, but we are yet to confirm the casualty figure. Investigation is ongoing”.
Similarly, unknown gunmen, last Friday, allegedly killed, at least, nine people while several others sustained bullet wounds following a suspected reprisal attack around the Agba Okwan Asarama (Asaramatoro) fishing settlement in Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The reason for the invasion is still unclear, but sources said that the gunmen, on alighting from the boats at the waterfront, opened fire, shooting sporadically into the air while making their way to residences of fishermen living by the river bank.
The source said that on sighting some fishermen attempting to escape, the gunmen shot, and killed nine persons, while others who were faster, managed to escape into the bush with bullet wounds.
The attack came barely 24hours after gunmen invaded the same area and abducted over six people.
During last Thursday night’s attack, more than six persons were allegedly kidnapped in the same fishing settlement in Andoni, a border community with Bonny Local Government Area of the state.
A source, who pleaded anonymity, disclosed that the abductors came into the community in two gunboats and seven speedboats.
The source added that on arrival at the waterfront, the gunmen started shooting sporadically to scare away residents, before abducting their victims, and whisking them away to unknown destination.
He added that the two incidents have thrown the fishing settlement into panic, as many now fear for their safety and security, given the ease with which the gunmen overrun their community, without any security personnel’s resistance.
However, the Chairman of the Community Development Committee in Asarama-toro, Japheth Blessing, has said that the attacks could be a reprisal on the incident that happened, last month, between Bonny and Andoni, which claimed lives of many, including the father of a suspected notorious cultist.
Blessing confirmed that the gunmen invaded the community before dawn, just as he called on the Rivers State Government and security agencies to come to the aid of the community, with a view to protect lives and property.
Stakeholders, including the chiefs and local government chairmen of Bonny and Andoni local government areas have renewed calls for peace among the two LGAs.
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