From CHRIS ANUCHA, Port Harcourt
Soldiers have taken over Aluu community, where four students of the University of Port Harcourt, were murdered in cold blood last Friday.
This is even as residents of Omuokiri are counting losses, following the violent protest, which swept across the area on Tuesday.
The protest was staged by students from the South-South and South- East zones, under the aegis of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), their anger was over the murder of their colleagues.
When Daily Sun visited Omuokiri community yesterday morning, many police patrol vehicles were stationed at strategic positions or moving round the village. Stern-looking security men, that included men of State Security Service (SSS) were everywhere, to avoid a repeat of the indent of the previous night, where over 30 vehicles and no fewer than seven buildings were set ablaze by the angry students.
But later in the evening, there was deployment of more soldiers to the community, which had already been deserted by the residents to evade arrest.
According to a source, the deployment of more soldiers to the community was to complement the efforts of policemen to forestall more protests and destruction of property.
In the afternoon, policemen from the River State command visited the burrow pit cum dumpsite, the spot where the students met their untimely death. They were seen removing disused tyres and other objects they suspected were used in killing the students.
Five more suspects arrested in the vicinity yesterday afternoon were seen being forced into police patrol vehicle.
Students living in the community were also seen moving out, while many shops and buildings were under lock and key.
Some residents who remained in doors were observed peeping from the windows.
Tension in the area is palpable, while some people who summoned courage to stay back were seen in groups discussing what befell the community in the past five days.
At the University of Port Harcourt, students were seen leaving in large numbers, after the institution was shut down indefinitely on Tuesday by the school authorities, when the students’ protest turned violent.
A large number of them also besieged the banks in the area, trying to withdraw money to enable them to travel home, pending when the closure order would be lifted.
Giving insight into the event of Tuesday, the Rivers State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Ben Ugwuegbualam, said the police acted swiftly to move the Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Joseph Ajienka, to safety.
He said security agents in the state were also working hard to ensure that the crisis did not escalate beyond what had been witnessed in the past days.
Ugwuegbulam also appealed to members of the public to cooperate with the security agencies to ensure that peace was restored in Aluu and its environs.
Meanwhile, an on-line report raised the fear about the condition of mother of Ugonna Kelechi Obuzor, the second year Geology student who was brutally murdered alongside his friends Lloyd Toku, Chinadikobi Biringa and Tekena Elkanah.
The unconfirmed report said Ugonna’s mother was overwhelmed by the shock of her son’s death.