14 killed in Rivers gang war


At least 14 people were killed on Friday when members of two rival gangs clashed in Sime, Tai Local Government Area of Ogoniland, Rivers State

The fight between the Icelanders and Greenlanders took place in Sime, a 25-minute drive from Port Harcourt, the hub of Nigeria’s restive oil-producing region.

“I totally condemn the killing of 14 persons so far killed as a result of the incident. Earlier in the week, two persons were also killed,” Bob Uelor Nkue, chairman of Tai Local Government Area, told AFP.

Omoni Nnamdi, a police spokesman for Rivers State, confirmed the clash while declining to give further details.

“I am still awaiting reports on the incident,” he said.

Jacobson Nbina, a politician with the People’s Democratic Party, said: “As I speak to you over 20 PDP youths of my community, Sime, have been brutally murdered and several others taken away alive as unknown gunmen invaded my community.”

Such gangs, known as “cults” in Nigeria, began as university confraternities decades ago before evolving into powerful armed groups that now rule the streets of the destitute region.

They are often aligned with political parties, who hire them as protection — and to intimidate their opponents.

A candidate from Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) beat the PDP candidate in a closely contested Senate by-election last December.

The latest clash comes few weeks after the Rivers state Governor, Nyesom Wike, extended a second round of amnesty programme to the local government area asking members of various cult groups in the area to renounce their membership and surrender their weapons.