One of the deserted areas in Omoku
**Police deploy troops
By DAVIES IHEAMNACHOR
OMOKU — ELEVEN days after the violent clash between two rival cult groups, which allegedly claimed 23 lives at Omoku in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area, ONELGA, Rivers State, the once- bubbling community is now a ghost town.
Niger Delta Voice investigation revealed that most of the residents and business owners had fled their homes to neighbouring communities for fear of being caught in a crossfire.
The quiet settlement known for its reveling nightlife was, penultimate Friday, turned into a killing field by members of Icelanders and Sailors, two rival cult groups supposedly locked in a supremacy battle.
According to a community source, who lost four cousins in the latest skirmish, the crisis that had been raging for about two years assumed a dangerous dimension during and after the last governorship election.
Killed in the orgy of violence were 19 -year-old Felix Philip, a second-year student of Federal Government College, Omoku, 15-year-old Christian Chisom, Mr. Oneil Ordu, Emeka Ahiakwo, Mr. Ekwala Ugoji and his wife. Mr Tony Okara, Nwaudo Ajie and Ahiakwo Ajie.
A resident of the area, Mr. Rafters Osere, said, “after the killings, business owners are relocating out of Omoku. You can hardly get where to buy something, it is really biting hard on us. The usual nightlife in the area has disappeared. In addition, commerce has ebbed to an all time low. People are living in great fear and we do not sleep again.”
Fear pervade community
Osere disclosed that the people of the area were living in fear following the threats of more attacks by the warring cultists, with some of the chiefs already on forced exile.
“Life is now nasty in Omoku, life is no more valued in Omoku, the ancestral home is now deserted and looks like a grave yard because of threats from the boys that they will visit the community again to cause more havoc.
“We need a stakeholders’ meeting so that we can dialogue on the way forward for Omoku community and the entire ONELGA. I urge everyone to ventilate their grievances; we do not want more killings in ONELGA. We know that politicians worsened the situation.
“If the political class were proactive, the problem would have been resolved. Therefore, we need a round table meeting where the differences would be resolved. The politicians are the architect of what is happening here today,” he said.
But the Police Public Relations Officer of the Command, DSP Ahmad Muhammad, said normalcy had been restored in the area,adding: “More anti-riot policemen have been deployed to further reinforce the existing security in the town.”