Two killed as Police, youths clash in Rivers
No fewer than two persons were feared dead and several others injured at Nkpolu community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State following a confrontation between some youths of the area and operatives of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (F-SARS) during the burial of a youth of the community, Aleruchi Woke.
Woke was allegedly shot dead by security operatives late last year during a protest by Nkpolu residents over the flood that had overtaken their community along the Rumuokoro axis of the East/West Road in Port Harcourt.
On Tuesday, trouble started when youths of the community went to the mortuary to move the remains of the deceased for burial, with some of them forcefully taking the phones and other personal items of people they encountered on their way from the mortuary.
They were also alleged to have vandalised business premises, thereby forcing some business owners to lock up their premises and shops.
The policemen who had been deployed to the venue of the burial, according to eyewitnesses, started shooting and in the process shot two persons from the community.
As the victims were being prepared to be rushed to the hospital for urgent treatment, the operatives seized their bodies and took them away to an unknown destination.
Also, shortly after Woke was buried, the operatives of F-SARS were said to have stormed the community and opened fire on residents, forcing them to flee their homes.
A former Community Development Committee (CDC) chairman, Edwin Woko, said that the burial had ended peacefully and that people were about to leave and retire to their homes when the F-SARS operatives stormed the area and opened fire.
“As I am talking to you, we are trying to recover members of the community. F-SARS operatives shot gun non-stop for two hours in Nkpolu community,” said Woko.
Among those shot and injured was the Community Development Chairman, CDC, Achinike Orubuogwu, who 24 hours earlier had issued a 21-day ultimatum to the government to intervene in the community or see East/West Road shut down.
But the spokesman of the Rivers State Police Command, Nnamdi Omoni, said nobody was killed or injured during the burial, based on the report he got from the police officer that led the team to the burial.
“There is no such thing that the police killed and injured people during the burial. I am relying on what the officer that led the operation told me. There is no such report based on what the man told me,” Omoni said.
Omoni noted that some persons wanted to cause security breach but were prevented from doing so by security operatives deployed to the area, adding that people commended the police for doing a good job.
But John Ihunwo, the secretary of Rivers State Civil Organisations, said two separate looting incidents took place, which he linked to the police.
He said the first shooting took place before the burial, stating that one person was shot in the leg and the other was shot in the neck, noting that the one that was shot in the leg died, while the other person was prevented from being taken to the hospital.
Ihunwo added that the second shooting took place when F-SARS operatives stormed the burial ceremony shortly after Woke had been buried and started shooting indiscriminately for two hours.