Operatives of the Eagle-Crack Squad of the Rivers State Police Command have allegedly tortured a teenager, Philip Brown to death.
Brown, popularly known as ‘School Boy’ died at the detention facility of the squad at the Mile 1 police station, Diobu Port Harcourt on Tuesday, his family said.
Micheal Pepple, a relative of the deceased told newsmen on Wednesday that Brown was arrested over a disagreement with the Diobu vigilante group on Monday.
Pepple said that youths at the waterfront area of Diobu had on Sunday chased away some armed robbers who came to rob inhabitants of the area and recovered an Ak 47 assault rifle.
However, an argument broke out between the youths and the vigilante group over who should turn in the rifle to the police. The deceased relative said that the vigilante asked the youths to hand over the rifle to them but they refused.
He added that the vigilante group later called the police when the youths insisted on going with them to hand over the recovered rifle to the police but they instead, arrested Brown.
But the Diobu Vigilante Service through Prince Amatari Bipeledi said it was a shootout between two cult groups, Lamedian & Foundation, all a branch of the dreaded Degbam cult group.
He said the groups engaged in a shootout and damaged cars packed at the Okwelle waterfront area.
He said that the group through intelligence gathering swung into action and apprehended Brown who later gave them names of two other accomplices.
He added that an Ak 47 rifle was recovered from the cultists which was handed over to the police.
But reacting to the news of the alleged torture, Rivers Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mukan dismissed the reported tortured of Brown to death.
He, however, said the deceased died as a result of mob action.
According to him: “That is the misconception of the actual fact, the suspect that died was involved in criminal activity in the waterfront. The vigilante got information and informed the police, the vigilante sent their men undercover, they were able to grab one of the cultists that was making life unbearable for people living at the waterfront.
“There was a mob action, he was beaten to a stupor and some of the vigilante members were injured but at the end of the day, there was a reinforcement and took him to the E-crack station. Unfortunately, when he got there he was exhausted through the mob action and he gave up the ghost”.