There was pandemonium in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Tuesday, after hoodlums invaded some streets in the area, attacked residents and robbed passersby and shop owners.
Our correspondent learnt that the gang, numbering about 50, ransacked Eagle Island, Timber Street and Echue stretch of Illabouchi, all densely populated areas of the metropolis, with machetes, as residents scampered for safety.
According to PUNCH Metro, the hoodlums were members of a suspected cult whose member was reportedly hacked to death last weekend by a faction of the group in the Mile 2 axis of Diobu.
An eyewitness, Peter Rowland, said residents ran into their homes and remained indoors for hours, as the cult members brandished machetes and other weapons while searching for their rivals.
Our correspondent, who visited the area around 12.30pm, saw policemen in about five vans from various tactical units patrolling the vicinity.
Rowland said, “I was on the road when I saw over 50 guys with machetes.
“They used the cutlasses on people, collecting their belongings; some vehicle owners came out of their vehicles and ran for cover.
“Some traffic policemen at Illabuchi by Eagle Island Junction and members of the Diobu vigilance group in the area all ran away.
“When I saw what was happening, I had to call the Rivers State Government control room to lodge a complaint. Later, I saw that calm had returned to the area.”
The spokesperson for the state police command, Grace Iringe-Koko, confirmed the incident.
She said, “We are aware of the disturbance; it may be a show of supremacy by cult groups. But we have commenced investigation to get to the root of the matter.”
Iringe-Koko, a Superintendent of Police, dismissed claims that a life was lost during the melee.