The residents of Ogoni communities in Rivers State, Thursday, fled their homes when unknown gunmen stormed the area killing two people, witnesses and the police have told PREMIUM TIMES.
One of the residents of the area, who pleaded not to be named, said the gunmen invaded Kira, a village in Tai Local Government Area in the early hours of the day killing two persons.
“I am right now near the scene of the shootings and killing which started in the morning in Kira community, Tai LGA of Rivers State,” he said. “We’re currently caught up in the gunshot action and it seems the police are unable to take charge of the situation.”
According to him, a section of the East West Road by the Rivers State Banana Farm and Nonwa Junction towards the Police Training School has been shut down.
He said vehicles from Port Harcourt, Bori, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states plying the Federal highway cannot pass through the Ogoni communities where the fighting is raging.
“Kira community has been deserted and many feared killed,” the source said. “About seven vans conveying mobile policemen from Mopol 56 were spotted driving towards the conflict zone.”
On its part, the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People issued a statement condemning the attack.
The media and public Advisor to the MOSOP president, Bari-ara Kpalap, regretted the killing of innocent persons and wanton destruction of properties in Kporghor and Gio villages.
“The invasion was confirmed to have been carried by a combined and sophisticatedly armed attackers from neighbouring Okrika communities especially Wakama,” said Mr. Kpalap. “They were said to have also attacked Kira and murdered in cold blood an indigene of the village.
“We recall that on May 6, 2015, these attackers had invaded Baraobara village and murdered seven innocent indigenes of Kporghor village who took refuge in the village since December 21, 2014 when their community was sacked.
“In December 2014, several citizens of Kporghor village were killed; hundreds of houses and other properties razed and the village sacked when these Okrika attackers invaded the village.”
The group said it was disappointed that in spite of reports and alerts it has issued on the matter, security agencies have found no answers to the violent campaign against coastal Ogoni communities especially those in Tai.
For instance, in May, the group said it alerted the government over threats of further invasion of Ogoni communities especially Kporghor by their Okrika neighbours but no security measures were put in place to halt it.
MOSOP, therefore, called on the Government of Rivers State and security agencies especially the police to investigate the matter with a view to bringing the perpetrators to book.
“We would as well entreat the security forces to provide adequate security for the people of Kporghor, Gio and other Ogoni communities bordering Okrika communities,” Kpalap stated.
The Assistant Police Public Relations Officer in the Rivers State, Grace Ironge-Koko, confirmed the attack.
Mrs. Ironge-Koko, however, said the attack is part of the lingering communal crises in the area.
She also confirmed that a mobile police unit has been deployed to the area to quell the crisis and appealed to the warring parties to give peace a chance.