No fewer than 18 persons killed in a supremacy battle between rival cult groups in Omoku, headquarters of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni local government area of Rivers state.
It was gathered that the incident took place on Friday night in the densely-populated town, which hosts the Federal College of Education (Technical).
Omoku is also the hometown of Rivers Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Felix Obuah.
Sources said a cult group known as the Icelanders invaded the community around 11pm to carry out the killing and injure many others.
Among those killed, according to eyewitnesses, were a couple and two brothers of the same parents.
It was learnt that many of the deceased were beheaded with the killers allegedly making away with their corpses.
Elder John Awo, who hails from the community, told newsmen that the killers operated freely despite security presence and checking points mounted on major junctions in the area.
He alleged cultists have taken some villages in the area in the last six months the past six months, pointing out four of his cousins were among the victims.
Omoku town, which plays host to some multinational oil companies, has become desolate as residents have fled their homes for safety.
The Rivers State Police Command confirmed the incident.
It said six corpses of the suspected cultists have been recovered.
The Rivers Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Muhammad Ahmad, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), stated that the situation was under control.
Ahmad said: “The incident is reasonably believed to be battle of supremacy between rival cult groups in the town (Omoku).
“As it is now, the situation is under control, as more anti-riot policemen have been drafted to reinforce the existing security in the town.
“As for the casualties, six dead bodies of the suspected cultists were recovered.”
The situation has further heightened violence in Rivers State.
Last Thursday, a former member of the Rivers House of Assembly, Monday Eleanya, who represented Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni constituency on the platform of the PDP, was shot dead as he was driving out of his residence on Ada-George road in Port-Harcourt.
Eleanya just recently defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Rivers Publicity Secretary of the APC, Chris Finebone, while reacting to the assassination of Eleanya, popularly called World Bank, insisted that it was part of the threats by PDP leaders to eliminate most leaders of the party ahead of the March 19 legislative reruns.
3 Senatorial, 12 of 13 House of Representatives and 22 of 32 state’s House of Assembly seats are open for contest at the ordered reruns.
Finebone said APC leaders and members in Rivers would never be cowed or intimidated.
He urged security agencies to be alive to their responsibility of protecting lives and property.