Controversy: Panic in Rivers as death toll rises to 18 in Gokana

- The death toll in Gokana has risen to 18

- Residents panic in Rivers following recent spate of shootings in the state

- There is controversy regarding the number of casualties recorded from army raid in Gokana

Emerging reports suggest that about 18 people have been killed following gun-duels in Gokana and Khana local government area of Rivers state.

The Punch reports that residents are living in fear due to the recent clashes within the state.

Sources say one of the victims was shot in front of RIVPOLY Secondary School.

There have been conflicting reports regarding the number of casualties recorded from the gun-battle between soldiers and militants within Gokana and Khana.

The 2 Brigade of the Nigerian Army insisted on Wednesday, February 24, that nobody died during the operations in Yeghe.

However, witnesses claim that there were deaths following a bloody clash which ensued ensued after the army raided the residence of a former militant leader in Yeghe community, Solomon Ndigbara.

Supporters of the ex-warlord who popularly called General Osama Bin Laden had reportedly set fire to the campaign office of Senator Magnus Abe in Bori,  to protest an invasion of their leader's home by the army.

There were initial claims that a total of nine people were killed, most of which were said to be youths.

A source who pleaded that his name be withheld for the fear of being attacked, stated that some people in Gokana suffered serious gunshot wounds during the gun battle.

He added that the use of a bulldozer to demolish Ndigbara’s house had triggered rage in some indigenes of the area.

One John Baridon from Khana affirmed claims of death being recorded from the shootout. He also claimed that his younger brother was shot dead in Zaakpon community on his way from work.

In the past few days, there has been an increase in shootings within Rivers state. The city of  Port Harcourt was reportedly left in a frenzy on Wednesday, February 24, following a shootout at the GRA axis of the city.

Sources disclose that the guffaw ensued following a clash between policemen and robbers who had just raided a new generation bank at Birabi street. As of press time, no casualty had been recorded.

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