By Gladys Nweke
At least seven persons may have been killed and many houses burnt down as two rival cult groups engaged in battle of supremacy in Etche communities in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers state.
The incident reportedly took place on Sunday night, which claimed the life of Onyebuchi Anaero from Okehi 1.
Spokesman of the Police Command, Nnamdi Omoni, A deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), confirmed the attack in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
He however said that nobody was killed in the fight.
But a community source, Aloy Amadi, who broke the news, stated that the fight was between members of Dey-gbam and Dey-well cult groups.
He narrated that trouble started Sunday evening with the murder of a cultist by an opposing gang at Okehi 1, the headquarters of Etche LGA.
Another eyewitness, who was simply identified as Best Dike told newsmen that the killings later spread to other communities such as Igbodo, Mba and Obibi within Etche as the cult gang whose member was killed went on reprisal rampage in the these communities.
The source said three of the other victims were killed in the early hours of Monday in Ulakwo, Igbodo and Mba communities of Etche LGA.
Best noted that many houses were also burnt down while residents of the communities have fled their homes for safety.
He said members of the Degbam group killed a member of the Deywell group Sunday night and this morning another one person was killed in Ulakwo, another one at Igbodo and Mba communities including Okehi 2 where they killed another person on Monday night making it the total of seven that died on the reprisal attack.
Many houses have also been burnt down in Okehi, while residents have fled for fear of been killed by the rampaging cult groups.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Nnamdi Omoni, said that tactical teams have been deployed in the area by the Commissioner of Police, Mustapha Dandaura, adding that the situation has been arrested.
Omoni noted that no suspect has been arrested, stressing that when police arrived the area that the bandits took to their heels.