Another source said the incident was caused by the imposition of traditional rulers on the people by the state government.
Confirming the incident, the state police Commissioner, Taiwo Lakanu said a joint security team is working to restore peace.
According to him, “We heard that some people were killed, but the situation is not as terrible as that. Two cults are involved in the crisis in that community and the problem has been on for about three years. After killing each other, they would retreat into the creeks. The terrain is difficult and because the families of the victims don’t also cooperate with the police in the area of information, it becomes difficult to make arrests.
“We have, however, met with the military and the representatives of the government to improve security in the community. We have also deployed two units of riot policemen in the area and soldiers are making efforts to send in troops as well. We are trying to recruit those who will give information that will aid our investigations.”
According to Punch, some residents who fled the community for fear of being killed, said the fight was over crude oil deposits in the area.
Another man, Kingsley Igwe, whose brother was allegedly killed by the cultists, also said “The incident happened on Monday morning while he was on a visit. Those men attacked him at the market square and shot him dead. He was married with two children and his wife was pregnant.
“After he was killed on Monday, those gunmen shot two people dead on Tuesday. On Wednesday, another man in the community was killed. On Thursday, a taxi driver was waylaid and shot dead. A total of nine people were killed last week.
“As I speak to you, there is no school, market or church in the community that is functioning. Everybody has deserted the place. I have also run away.”
Another indigene, Emeka Ononomadu, added that “That place has been reduced to a war zone by cult members due to the deposit of oil in the community. And the problem started when the state government decided to encroach into the traditional selection process. Some groups, who did not want to be ruled by leaders imposed by the government, kicked and started fomenting trouble. This developed into a full-blown war among communities, led by cult groups.”
The first lady of Imo state, Nneoma Rochas-Okorocha, in an extreme show of benevolence reportedly gifted an orphan boy with a two bedroom bungalow.
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