Residents of Oyigbo in Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State have cried out over the invasion of their community and indiscriminate arrest by policemen.
The invasion of the area is coming four days after suspected hoodlums attacked a new Special Anti-Robber Squad unit in Oyigbo, vandalized property, burnt a police operational van, and killed an operative attached to the office.
Some of the residents told our correspondent who visited the area on Saturday that some persons have fled the area for fear of being arrested by the police who they said invaded the community.
One of them who did not want his name mentioned said the policemen came in Hilux and police patrol vehicles and stationed at the Kom-Kom axis of the community and adjoining area, harassing and arresting young men.
Another resident claimed that the policemen were seen knocking on doors of some residents and arresting people indiscriminately on Friday evening, adding that gunshots were heard, making people remain indoors.
“The community is filled with SARS officers. They arrest people anyhow as long as you are a guy (man). Yesterday (Friday) night we didn’t even sleep. We were hearing gunshots. I don’t know if they were shooting people or not. But we were very scared.
“As I speak to you now, I am indoors. I didn’t go to work because of the invasion. Like this roundabout, after Afam Road and Kom-Kom area that is where they are with their Hilux and everything. I am scared because I don’t want those guys to grab me,” a middle-aged man stated.
Another resident said, “I stay near Kom-Kom along Afam Road near the railway crossing. Around 9:30 last night (Friday) there was shooting for about thirty minutes before it stopped. This morning (Saturday), we could not access the road.
“There were about 20 vans of SARS and APC trucks. They were raiding all the streets doing massive arrests and people were running.
“All the streets, any young guy working around may just be a suspect.”
Our correspondent noticed the presence of armed policemen stationed in some areas, though it could not be ascertained if any arrest was done but the police had said 22 persons were nabbed in connection with the attack.
When contacted, spokesperson for the State Police Command, Nnamdi Omoni, said, “The Commissioner of Police has given a marching order that the assailants should be arrested and brought to justice. So we have deployed our men.
“They shouldn’t be in fear because we expect them to cooperate with us to fish out the suspects because they live with them and they know them. To avoid mistaken identity, they should be able to give us useful information that can lead to the arrest of the real people that carried out that dastardly act,” Omoni said.