By JIMITOTA ONOYUME

PORT HARCOURT— MORTAL  fear has seized the people of Rivers State since last week when armed marauders murdered five police officers, including a Deputy Superintendent of Police, DSP Muhammadu Halidu and six civilians at Okobe in Ahoada West Local Government Area.

Late DSP Muhammad  Halidu

The rampaging gunmen laid ambush for the police officers,    attached to the 30 Mobile Police Force, code-named 30 MPF, Bayelsa state, on their way back from a national assignment in Yobe State and stole their rifles after snuffing the life out of them.

Police Public Relations Officer, Rivers State Police Command, DSP Ahmad Muhammad, who confirmed the massacre, said: “We are deeply pained by the senseless and barbaric killing of our colleagues attached to 30 PMF Yenagoa, who were ambushed in the early hours of  today (last Monday)   at Okobe en route Yenagoa.

“The  tragedy again demonstrates the enormous calamities witnessed in the course of our job. We put our lives on the line everyday to confront crime and violence in our communities. We will stop at nothing to bring the perpetrators of this dastardly  act to justice,” he said. .

A stray bullet from the gunmen killed a conductor attached to a trailer driver during the attack on the police officers.

Bori killings

The dust generated by the gruesome killing had hardly settled when unidentified gunmen struck again the following day at Bori, headquarters of Khana local government area and the Rivers state judiciary complex in Port Harcourt.

On Polytechnic Road in Bori community, about three gunmen riding a motorcycle opened fire on three young men relaxing in an inn. Two of them reportedly died on the spot, while the third, rushed to a hospital, gave up the ghost in the sickbay.

Community sources said two belonged to the APC and the PDP respectively while the third was a student of the state- owned Ken Saro Wiwa Polytechnic.

3 private security guards assassinated

The other attack was at the Rivers State Judiciary complex in Port Harcourt.   The assailants sneaked into the premises in the wee hours and used hard objects to club three private security guards, who were still sleeping. It is not clear the exact time the incident occurred, but staff of the judiciary said it must have been within the hours of 2.00 -3.00 am.

Two of the guards died on the spot while the third escaped with deep cuts and at press time, was reportedly receiving treatment at the Police hospital in Port Harcourt.

Rivers elders fume

Former Director General, State Security Service, SSS, Chief Albert Horsfall, condemned the spate of killings in the state, saying security agencies should spare no effort to end the impudence.

Horsfall, who spoke after a meeting of Rivers Elders and leaders Council, in Port Harcourt, said the ugly trend in the state was disturbing.  He said it was clear some persons were determined to paint the state black, stressing that as elders; they would stand in defence of the state.

Horsfall further said they would write formally to the governor, suggesting to him why he should evolve structures to engage idle minds. He also enjoined youths to shun violence, saying it does not pay.

“We think we should defend our state to gain back stability for the state. We want peace to reign. People are trying to create an impression of instability in Rivers State. Law and order must prevail,” he asserted.

Deal with perpetrators – Wike   

Governor Nyesom Wike said his government has mobilised security agencies to tackle challenges of insecurity all over the state.

The governor, in a statement, also ordered security agencies to deal with anyone behind security problems in the state, no matter his or her political affiliation.

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