By Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The Nigerian Army in Rivers State has confirmed that its men shot and killed a notorious cultist, Christian Lucky Kenjika, popularly called “School Boy”, and one of his lieutenants during an encounter at Ubima community in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
It however said its men were not responsible for the mutilation of the bodies of the deceased.
School Boy and his gang were believed to be behind series of kidnappings and other criminal activities around Ubima-Omuanwa-Ipo-Omerelu axis of the state.
They were also suspected to have been behind the attack on some chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during a ward-to-ward sensitisation tour at Ipo community in Ikwerre Local Government Area.
Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Colonel Aminu Illiasu, who spoke to newsmen in Port Harcourt, said the two suspected cultists died during an encounter with soldiers from 340 Artillery Regiment, Elele.
Illiasu denied the involvement of soldiers in the mutilation of the bodies of notorious cultists, saying the act may have been carried out by a rival cult group in the area.
He said: “The cultists, two of them were killed by soldiers after an encounter. Yesterday (Thursday), there was an encounter between a cult group and our men of 340 Artillery Regiment that are stationed in Elele. Two cultists were killed while arms and ammunition were recovered.
“The corpses are with the Police but the arms are with us. It was not soldiers that mutilated their bodies. After the encounter, we left for the Police to come and recover the bodies. It is like this police did not arrive on time. Before the Police could arrive, rival cultists came and severed their heads.”
Speaking to newsmen also, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Nnamdi Omoni (DSP), said the corpse of the two suspected cultists had been deposited in the morgue while efforts were on to arrest fleeing members of the group.
Omoni appealed to members of the public to alert the Police whenever they see people with multiple gunshot wounds.