Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
At least 20 houses were reportedly set ablaze by suspected cultists yesterday in Ogbolomabiri, Nembe local council of Bayelsa State, after a member of one of the cult groups drowned while fleeing from the youths in the area.
Nengi Isere, the deceased, was allegedly running away from the youths who were sent to mete some disciplinary measures on him when he dived and drowned in the river.
A reprisal attack launched by colleagues of the suspected deceased cultist against the youth leadership, caused a serious uproar, leaving several persons injured and houses burnt in its wake.
The attack which was said to have occurred in the early hours of yesterday, also saw the cultists embark on a looting spree of shops owned by those suspected to be sympathetic to the Nembe Youth Council.
Community sources disclosed thursday that the drowned victim of the crisis, allegedly a “known cultist” in Nembe community had a serious altercation with the leadership of the officially recognised youth council and was meant to face disciplinary action.
It was gathered that the trouble which led to the death of the deceased, started during last weekend’s installation of chiefs at the palace of the Mingi, King Edmund Daukoru.
“The Nembe Youth Council had issues with one Nengi Isere. So in their attempt to arrest him, he jumped into the river but drowned while swimming across. Some of his associates used the opportunity to wreak havoc on the community,” a community source said.
The source added that heavy security was immediately deployed in the area, which has brought the situation under control.
Following the crisis, the king was said to have summoned an emergency meeting of Nembe chiefs with a view to bringing peace to the community, while the military reportedly arrested three persons in connection with the crisis.
The Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Rear Admiral John Jonah, was also said to have intervened to calm frayed nerves.
When contacted, the spokesman of the Joint Task Force, Operation Delta Safe, Major Abubakar Abdullahi, said he had not been briefed.
“I have no information yet on that. Maybe when the boys return, they will brief us,” he said.