The Rivers State Police Command has attributed the death of a cleric, Pastor Geoffrey Ogagaghene, and six other persons to Thursday’s raid of Ohali-Elu town in Ogba/Egbema by a group of armed men suspected to be herdsmen.
The command disagreed with reports that 16 persons were killed during the raid by the herdsmen, saying that seven persons died during the attack.
A statement signed by the State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Ahmad Muhammad, on behalf of the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Musa Kimo, indicated that Pastor Ogagaghene was inflicted with machete cuts, which led to his death.
Kimo said in the statement that the herdsmen’s raid of the community was as a result of an alleged stealing of a cow by some youths in the community, but added that no case of cow theft was reported to the police.
“The Command found it instructive to state that on Thursday 30/03/2016 at about 5:30 am, the police in Egi Division received a report that on Wednesday 29/03/2016 at about 10:00 pm unidentified assailants suspected to be herdsmen struck in Ohali-Elu town leaving one Pastor Geoffrey Ogagaghene with severe cutlass cuts that later led to his death.
“It is also pertinent to state that in the build-up to the attack, there was a case of stealing of unspecified number of cows belonging to some herdsmen allegedly perpetrated by the youths of the community, but the case was never reported to the police.
“It is reasonably suspected that the attack might have been carried out by the herdsmen as reprisal for stealing their cows. Unconfirmed sources indicated six other persons lost their lives after the attack.
“But the death of these six persons still remains unconfirmed for the simple reason that the police neither recovered nor visibly saw the corpses at the time of responding to the incident,” Kimo said.
He, however, stated that the Command could only confirm the death of Pastor Ogagaghene, whose corpse was seen and identified.
Explaining that the situation in Ohali-Elu town was currently calm, the state CP pointed out the Command had put measures in place to prevent any breakdown of law and order.
“The situation now in Ohali-Elu town is calm as the Command has taken full control with the deployment of adequate armed mobile policemen to forestall further breakdown of law and order.
“Investigation into the incident is now at its peak with a view to bringing the outcome to members of the public and perpetrators of the dastardly act to justice,” Kimo stressed.