BY FESTUS AHON
UGHELLI — AT least 44 persons have been remanded in Okere prisons, Warri, over the terror unleashed on some persons and the rape of 20 women, including a young daughter of a cleric in Agbarha-Otor, Ughelli North Local Government Area, Delta State during the aborted ‘Ekene’ festival.
A Police patrol van was also burnt by the hooligans who took advantage of the festival which holds once in 15 years to carry out unholy acts, which brought the famous ‘Ekene’ festival to an abrupt end.
The Chief Magistrate in charge of the Agbarha-Otor Magistrate Court 1, Mrs Ikomi, said the 44 suspects be remanded in prison custody till May 9, 2013 when the matter will come up for hearing.
At press time, the burnt police van was still lying in front of the palace of the Agbarha-Otor monarch.
Those who fled the community in the wake of the crisis have started returning to the hitherto peaceful community in their numbers.
Meantime, the Ughelli Area Commander of police, Mr Aworisola Awotinde, said the police was still on the trail of some of the principal actors, adding that; “investigation continues.”
Awotinde said; “they have gone into hiding but we will smoke them out,” reiterating that the police was determined to stamp out all forms of criminality in the area.
In another development, some indigenes of the community who spoke to the Vanguard said the Agbarha-Otor monarch, HRM Richard Oghenewogaga Ebelle, Okorefe I, had through a town crier warned the people against violence a week before the aborted festival started.