Hundreds of people have fled their homes in Oloko Community in Tai Local Government Area of Ogoni, Rivers State, following the killing of a pastor, who is also a native of the community, identified as Abraham Yorka.
According to fleeing natives and residents, unknown gunmen invaded Oloko community, opened fire on residents; some were allegedly killed, others sustained bullet wounds.
They said aside shooting sporadically, the gunmen, numbering about seven, also went ahead to set their homes and property on fire before leaving.
The growing tension in the area since the incident took place around 4pm on Thursday, April 28, has continued to cause panic, as residents are deserting Oloko to nearby communities for safety.
Speaking with TNN in an interview, a community leader, Mr Monday Paakal who witnessed the shooting explained how he narrowly escaped being hit by a bullet, describing the incident as disheartening and urging the Rivers State Police command to swing into action and apprehend those behind the inhuman act.
In his narration, Paakel, whose motorcycle was allegedly burnt by the gunmen said “I was right there in the community, we had a kind of, a clean-up in our community. So after the exercise, we now went to our various houses and farms working. So, what I saw is the men coming with guns chasing women, chasing other people, ah ah! We were shouting, what happened, what happened, which people? Before we know, they started shooting here and there. Even, I thank God that the bullet does not kill me, (sic) because God helped me to scale out of it.
“As this thing happened, we were all running, shouting here and there, they came in, they were about seven to, about ten of them, holding different kind of gun, shoot here and there with machete, so they na burn my motorcycle, I can’t work with the bike again, they burn it, they kill other men, the pastor, they injure other people, shoot people here and there, not small thing, burn houses, so, there are some bike too they left with.”
The community leader also alleged that some of the natives of Oloko community are still missing. “Even up till now we are still looking for some of our children, our men, we don’t know if they are alive oh! Or they slay them, so the ones that escaped from their hands, there is some of them, like one of our men who escaped from them that they captured, they shoot him very well and carried him to their place.
“So as they were bragging, talking, that they will kill us, that that place is not part of Ogoni, that that place is their own place, that they will kill us. This is exactly what happened, that time was around to four, and there was no bike for us to carry the man out of that place, no motor, no nothing, till the following morning that we now find way to help carry the man.”
When asked if the matter has been reported to the police, he said “they have not investigated, we only go to that place with the ones we can go with, the dead body since it was about to decay we did not carry him to that place again, but we only told them this is what happened, so, we now tell them what happened and they took our statement, and up-till now, infact tomorrow we want to go and meet them and see how far they want to go, but they are on the process now. Yes, I am one of the community leaders.”
Paakel appealed to the Rivers State government to “come to our aid to make sure that they stop this condition and arrest this people and make an end to this kind of killing because they have been doing it several times, there are some times they will come and seize all our bikes, we reported to people, there was no nothing, no reaction that is why this people come again.
“We are begging the government to give us security agencies and to find out these things and give us justice because we cannot bear it, that is what we want government to do for us, they shouldn’t leave us like that, we are indigene of Rivers State, we are from Oloko in Tai Local Government.
“For now, we are still looking, we are still watching, we have not seen any reaction for now. Some persons have left, you know we are refugees, we have not all that settled but as it happened, some persons are still there, some people because of fear, they are scared. I am within the community now.”
The Public Relations Officer of the Rivers State Police command, DSP Grace Iringe Koko, was reached by our correspondent, she promised to get back but was yet to do so as at the time of filling this report.