The Army said that it was not responsible for the beheading of the two slain cult members after killing them.
A group of soldiers were said to have been ambushed on Thursday in Ubima community by some armed members of a cult group, leaving one of them (soldiers) with gunshot injuries.
It was gathered that the soldiers, who refused to retreat, retaliated and killed the two cult members during the gun battle that ensued.
A source disclosed that the slain cult members were beheaded after the shootout and that the soldiers rushed their injured colleague to the hospital.
One of the deceased (School Boy) was said to have been responsible for most of the kidnapping, rape and armed robbery cases within the area in recent times.
It was also learnt that School Boy had also been on the wanted list of security agencies in the state following his criminal activities in Ikwerre LGA.
School Boy and his lieutenant were also suspected to have been behind the attack on a ward-to-ward sensitisation campaign of the Peoples Democratic Party in the area, where the council chairman, Samuel Nwanosike, was said to have escaped being killed.
Speaking on the death of School Boy and his fellow cultist, the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, explained that soldiers from 340 Artillery Regiment in Elele killed the cultists during a shootout.
Iliyasu maintained that the soldiers were not responsible for severing the slain cult members’ heads, even as he insisted that the dastardly act could have been perpetrated by a rival cult group.
“Two of them (cult members) 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 cult members 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 the police did not arrive on time. Before the police could arrive, rival cultists came and severed their heads,” the spokesman of 6 Division of the Nigerian Army said.
Similarly, the Rivers State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Nnamdi Omoni, explained that although the army killed the deadly cultists during a shootout, a rival cult group severed their heads.
Omoni stated that the headless bodies of the cult members were taken away by the police for preservation.
He added that the police had commenced investigation in a bid to apprehend those behind the beheading of the cult members.
He said, “Yes, we are aware of the case. I was thinking the Army would have issued a statement on it. We have evacuated the corpses (of School Boy and his lieutenant).
“Some soldiers were ambushed by the cultists and the soldiers retaliated. One of the soldiers sustained gunshot injuries. But two cult members, including School Boy, were shot in the crossfire.
“The soldiers had taken their injured colleague to the hospital, but before they came back to the scene, the head of the two deceased and been severed from their bodies. We, the police came in and took away the two bodies for preservation.”