Okafor Ofiebor/ Port Harcourt.
Gunmen suspected to be cult members ambushed a patrol team of Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, along the Emuoha section of the East West Road at about 9 am on Monday. The gun duel between the police officers and the criminal gang resulted in the death of a member of the cult group while a policeman was also seriously injured.
One pistol and other weapons were recovered from the scene by the Police at the end of the encounter.
While confirming the incident, the Commander of SARS in Rivers State, Akin Fakorode said :”We had encounter with cult group in Emohua this morning. We were on patrol to stop kidnappings and robberies in that axis and to make the East-West road safe for travellers, when we were attacked. A gun battle ensured leading to the death of one of the cult members.
“No arrest has been made yet, we are still on the trail of other members of the cult group. We just recovered some of the weapons of the cult members.
Akin Fakarode confirmed that one of the cult members died during the gun battle, while the injured SARS officer was in the intensive care unit in the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital.
The Rivers State Police Command also confirmed that the gunmen who attacked the SARS patrol team were cult members
The Police Public Relations Officer, Nnamdi Omoni, said the team were on routine patrol when it was attacked leading to the exchange of gunfire between the SARS operatives and the cult members.
He said the presence of the SARS operatives in the State was to check frequent incidents of kidnappings, armed robberies and other criminal vices on the major highway.
An eyewitness, Aghedo Alexander, narrated the incident on his Facebook. According to him, “I witnessed everything on my way to Ahoada, my office. I was caught in crossfire or will I say ambush, after backup came from SARS and they cleared the blockage at OGBAKRI junction chasing this protesting cult boys into the bush, and telling motorist to continue their journey.
“Unknown to us and the SARS team that these cultists have mounted another ‘burn fire’ and road block 2 kilometers away from the first one SARS cleared, the boys came out from the bush and started shooting at motorists. Thank Goodness my driver was fast enough to make a U-turn. Thank God for safety”.
Another eyewitness, Ohaka Bob Ikpendu, narrated, “I was caught in between, I pleaded and pleaded with them, I spoke all the Ikwerre language in me today just to prevent them from smashing the car and harassing me and the others I was travelling with.
“We truly have a big problem in Rivers State. I saw very angry, idle and destructive youths, who were so available to cause mayhem at the snap of a finger there. There has to be a programme for youths in this state there are a lot of youths idle and available to commit crime,” Ikpendu said in his Face book page.
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