Five suspected cultists believed to be members of the Icelander cult were on Sunday killed in Obelle, a community in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State, by the military during a shootout.
The gun battle allowed five people that were reportedly kidnapped by the same cultists on Friday around Elele Town in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, to regain their freedom.
The Army, following the recurrent killings and other cult-related activities that were threatening the peace in Rivers State, on Sunday, trailed the hoodlums to their new camp in Obelle. A source in the community said that when the soldiers entered the community in search of the cultists who fled Ibaa community to build a new camp in Obelle, the cultists opened fire on the Army.
The source said that when the boys first attacked the soldiers, they (soldiers) called for reinforcement before going after the hoodlums.
It was gathered the soldiers chased the cultists, who engaged them in a gun battle, into the Obelle-Elele forest.
According to Punch, it was learnt that the five suspected cultists were gunned down by the army during the shootout that lasted for about six hours.
In the process, five out of six hostages escaped from the kidnappers’ den.
The cultists had ambushed a commercial bus en route to Port Harcourt from Anambra State last Friday, reportedly kidnapping six people at gunpoint and taking them into a forest in the area.
One of the victims, Mr. Felix Uche, who escaped revealed that they were released following the incursion of the military into the camp of the suspected cult gang.
Uche, who spoke to our correspondent on the telephone shortly after he regained freedom, narrated their experience in the hands of the kidnappers since Friday till the early hours of Monday.
“They tied our hands, our mouth and our legs; they also used candle stick light to burn our flesh. We were there without food and water.
“They forced us to call our relatives so that they will bring ransom for our release, but when they heard serious gunshots from the soldiers around the forest where we were held hostage, they decided to free us and then ran for their lives.
Uche revealed that the sixth victim was thoroughly beaten by the kidnappers after he attempted to escape earlier, adding that the victim was still in pains and could not run out of the forest when the army struck.
It was learnt that the freed kidnap victims reported to the police station in Elele town before going their different ways.