1 person dead, 2 missing as youth groups clash in Rivers community

by ‘Jola Sotubo

At least three persons are feared dead after riots erupted between two rival groups in Buguma, Asari Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State.

The clash was reportedly caused by an altercation which sprung up during a burial ceremony organized for the father of a member of  one of the groups identified as Kegema Unity Forum (KUF). According to reports, members of the rival group, called White Chesea, appeared uninvited at the ceremony and proceeded to harass members of the KUF.

The situation reportedly got out of hand, leading to a free for all.  The fight, which continued until yesterday, allegedly left one Princewill dead while two other youths are allegedly still missing.

Community sources, who did not want their names in print, said that after the first clash at the venue of the funeral, one of the groups allegedly mobilized its members to attack members of the other group at their homes.

Continuing, the sources said that there was tension in the community on Sunday, when one of the groups reportedly exploded about seven dynamites in the community, an action that further heightened the already tensed situation in the area.

A former militant leader in the community, Mr. Sobomabo Jackreece, aka Egberipapa, who spoke to Vanguard on phone on the development in Buguma community, lamented the situation. He said that he was in Abuja since last week Friday, when the crisis started.

He fingered a top politician in the area as being behind the fight, adding that security operatives had also not been alive to their responsibility in the face of the crisis because of the alleged involvement of the politician.

He said that as a Peace Ambassador, he had often appealed to youths in the area to remain calm and shun violence.

He said: “I have been in Abuja all this while. It is really sad to hear of the ugly stories from my community. I was told that the politician (name withheld), is responsible for the crisis. He wants to force everybody in the local government area to be in his camp. He sent thugs to harass innocent people at a funeral.  The security men, I have also been told, have been partial in the handling of the crisis.”

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