Some thugs, suspected to be cult members, operating in the popular Tombia Market, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, have stabbed an unnamed commercial tricycle rider to death in a failed attempt to rob him.
The police said on Thursday that the suspects attempted to rob the victim, but ended up killing him after he resisted them.
It was learnt that the killing of the tricycle rider, who hailed from the northern part of the country, caused tension in the community, as traders shut their shops and fled.
PUNCH Metro learnt that some kinsmen of the victim went berserk and allegedly stabbed a youth they believed was one of the suspects to death.
The killing of the northerner and the revenge by his kinsmen triggered fear of reprisals in the area.
However, the intervention of the leadership of the Ijaw Youth Council, the Bayelsa Volunteers and security agencies, reportedly restored peace.
The IYC Chairman, Central Zone, Mr. Tare Porri, was said to have led a delegation to meet the kinsmen of the deceased to sympathise with them.
Porri reportedly asked them to resist the temptation of taking the law into their own hands, adding that crimes had no colour and tribe.
He complained about the nefarious activities of suspected thugs in the market whom he said were fond of extorting money from Keke Marwa (tricycle) operators and other innocent residents.
He said, “In this particular case, they (thugs) tried to extort money from the victim, but he told them that he had no money because he just came out for business.
“They got angry and stabbed him to death. If not for our prompt intervention, it would have led to further bloodshed. We appeal to all the people in the state to remain calm and stop taking the law into their own hands whenever there is provocation.”
Porri appealed to security agencies, especially the police, to deploy policemen in the market to stop harassment of innocent people by thugs.
The Chairman of the Bayelsa Volunteer Service, Mr. Douye Koroye, condemned the killing of the commercial rider, describing it as barbaric.
Koroye, who is also the Special Adviser to the Governor on Youths, urged youths to quit crime and take advantage of various opportunities created by the state government to make decent living.
He commiserated with the deceased’s family, urging security agencies to investigate the incident and bring the suspected cult members to book.
He said, “We warn that persons who engage in cult activities are risking their lives. We have a new law in the state that stipulates stringent punishment for them.”
The Bayelsa State Police Public Relations Officer, Asinim Butswat, who confirmed the incident, said some suspects had been identified and would soon be arrested.
He asked kinsmen of the victim to be calm, adding that persons who committed the crime would face prosecution.