The Rivers State Police Command has confirmed the reports of killings in Ohali-Elu town in Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni Local Government area of the state.
The Command in a statement signed by its spokesman, Ahmad Mohammed said the killings were as a result of a reprisal attack between the villagers of Ohali-Elu and herdsmen in the area.
The statement read:
“The attention of Rivers State Police Command has been drawn to an unsubstantiated story in the media that about killing(s) in Egi land, particularly At of Rivers State. There were conflicting death toll figures with some saying twelve while others reported sixteen.
“For instance, The Authority newspaper of Saturday 02/04/2016 said “16 persons feared dead in Rivers”.
“The Command found it instructive to state that on Thursday 30/03/2016 at about 5:30 am the police in Egi Division received a report that on Wednesday 29/03/2016 at about 10:00 pm unidentified assailants suspected to be herdsmen struck in Ohali-Elu town leaving one Pastor Geoffrey Ogagaghene with severe cutlass cuts that later led to his death.
“It’s also pertinent to state that in the buildup to the attack, there was a case of stealing of unspecified number of cows belonging to some herdsmen allegedly perpetrated by the youths of the community, but the case was never reported to have police.
“It is reasonably suspected that the attack might have been carried out by the herdsmen as reprisal for stealing their cows. Unconfirmed sources indicated six other persons lost their lives after the attack, the death of these six persons still remains unconfirmed for the simple reason that the police neither recovered nor visibly saw the corpses at the time of responding to the incident.
“Consequently, the Command can only confirm the death of Pastor Geoffrey Ogagaghene whose corpse was seen and identified.
“The situation now in Ohali-elu town is calm as the Command has taken full control with the deployment of adequate armed mobile policemen to forestall further breakdown of law and order.
Investigation activity into the incident is now at its peak with a view to bringing the outcome to members of the public and perpetrators of the dastardly act to justice.”