June 1, 2024

Two feared killed, houses burnt as youths, vigilante clash in Rivers


By Davies Iheamnachor, Port Harcourt

Two people have been feared killed and two houses razed during a clash between some youths and vigilante members at Egbeda Community in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State.

It was gathered that five members of the vigilante group, Egbeda Security Planning and Advisory Committee (ESPAC), named in the shootings and killings have been arrested by operatives of the State Police Command.

A source from the community, who could not identify one of the deceased individuals at press time, named another victim as Mr. Oregi, a native of Omuipo community in Egbeda Town. 

It was gathered that the deceased and other youths were marching round the community protesting against the choice of a particular community leader as liaison officer (CLO) to a construction company handling the Egbeda-Elele road construction.

Vanguard learned that the youths were reportedly warned by the local vigilante members not to embark on the protest, but that the youths went on with the peaceful procession as planned.

The source in the community, who did not want his name in print, narrated that while the protest was ongoing, some of the ESPAC members intercepted the protesters at Egbeda roundabout and urged them to go home, but that the youths had refused, maintaining that they have the right to peacefully express their concerns.

The source disclosed that an ESPAC member, popularly known as Muffi, said to be their commander, got infuriated and allegedly opened fire on the protesters, resulting in the deaths of Oregi and the others.

However, it was gathered that the operatives of Egbeda Police Division, who responded to a distress call, arrested the prime suspect, Muffi, and four other members of ESPAC. Following the development, some unidentified youth stormed the home of the ESPAC Commander and one other and burnt down their houses.

Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the Rivers State Police Command, Grace Iringe-Koko, a superintendent of police, could not confirm the development.

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