A pregnant woman, her husband and two others were on Thursday shot dead by gunmen in an early morning attack along the Bakery Road area of Azikoro Town in Yenagoa local government council area of Bayelsa State.
The gunmen, according to security sources, launched the attack in retaliation against the alleged partnership between men of the police security outfit, Operation Puff Adder, and residents which led to the destruction of their camp inside the forest close to the area.
It was learnt that the police had on Tuesday night invaded the militant camp reportedly fingered by some residents as a base for illegal bunkering, kidnapping and other criminal activities.
Listed as one of their grouses against the residents were the recent lynching of four of their colleagues in the area.
A new generation church known as the Lion of Judah Fire Deliverance Ministry, off Bakery Road, was also attacked by the gunmen. The security guard was shot dead.
The pregnant woman and her husband were shot dead at the front of their house during the shootout.
The Commissioner of Police, Mike Okoli, who visited the scene, reassured members of the community of adequate police protection and ordered a full investigation to unravel the motive for the dastardly attack.
The Bayelsa State Police Command, in a statement issued by its spokesman, Asinim Butswat, announced that the police had launched a search for the suspected cultists who murdered four victims and set a house ablaze.
He said, "On August 5, 2020, at about 2300hours, armed suspected cultists stormed the Lion of Judah Church, Azikoro village, Yenagoa Local Government Area, Bayelsa State.
"They shot dead four church members, namely Alfred Marcus'm' 30 years, Imomotimi -surname unknown- (25), Gabriel Ejimofor 'm' 45 years, and Uchechukwu Ejimofor' f' 38 years. They set ablaze a nearby building, damaged a vehicle and the church properties.
"Operatives of operation Puff Adder had earlier traced the hideouts of the cult members in the bush, dislodged them and burnt their camp.
"It is believed that this is a reprisal by the suspected cultists. Meanwhile, two suspects have been arrested and are cooperating with the police in their investigations."