Residents of Ogbunabali in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, are now living in fear as suspected cultists have allegedly killed three persons.
The three persons, according to sources, were killed in different locations within the area.
Residents, however, accused the police of being slow in arresting the criminals perpetrating the crime and restoring peace and order in the community.
It was gathered that the killings started three months ago when one of the cult leaders in the area was murdered, which triggered a reprisal that led to further killings.
A resident of the neighbourhood, who identified himself as Onwubiko Michael, told Southern City News that the recent killings followed the murder of a cult leader in the community.
He said, “On Saturday, a popular youth, who was not a bad boy, but was very jovial with everyone in the area, was killed around 9pm. Michael was described as a jolly good fellow, who did not disturb anybody.
“The next day, that is, Sunday morning, another man was killed at Eastern bypass roundabout and on Monday morning, we heard that another youth had been killed. This is too much.
“These killings started about three months ago and since then, it has been one killing or another.
“No one knows the next person it will be. Business owners now close early to avoid being attacked. As a result of this, night life in the area is no more compared to what it used to be.”
Michael further alleged that the police had been foot-dragging in curtailing the security crisis in the community, adding that the police insisted that a formal complaint be made to them before they would take action.
“The police have been very slow in responding to the security crisis in Ogbunabali; I heard that the police are insisting that a formal complaint be made to them before they can take any major action.
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Nnamdi Omoni, explained that the allegations against the police were not true, adding that the command was doing all within its power to protect lives and properties in the state.
Omoni stated that the police needed the support of the residents in flushing out the criminals perpetrating crime in the area.
He said, “The police are doing everything within their power to protect lives and properties in the state and to make sure that criminals perpetrating crime are flushed out.
“We are appealing seriously to the people to share information that can lead to the arrest of the criminals, because they are their children.
“Those perpetrating this crime live with them and the residents know them very well. We (police) don’t even know them and we cannot just see people and arrest them, because we have to ascertain who is a criminal first before arresting.”