In a shocking incident, cultists in Nigeria allegedly decapitated the leader of a vigilante group Tuesday and paraded the severed head of the man around the community.

The victim has been identified as Alex Umezuruikem, who headed the Omudioga Security Planning and Advisory Committee (OSPAC) in Emohua, a local government area in Rivers State, according to local media the Guardian Nigeria.

The brutal killing of Umezuruikem came just days after he had spoken out about the kidnapping of four people by armed criminals in Egbeda community. 

According to media reports, the cultists are believed to have entered Umezurike’s home and shot him. However, he evaded the bullets and fled into a nearby bush. The accused then captured and killed him with a knife before decapitating him.

A source told the Guardian Nigeria that after killing and beheading Umezurike, they brought his body back to the compound of his home where they cut his corpse into pieces. They then paraded round the community with the severed head. The source spoke on the condition of anonymity.

“Some cult boys came into our community last night. They killed the commander of OSPAC in the community," the source said. “They came to his house shot him severally but it did not enter. He later ran into the bush. They went after him. They caught and killed him. The killing was horrible."

The source added: “The returned his body to their compound and cut it pieces. They cut his head and carried it round the community be before living.”

The spokesman of the Rivers State police command, Nnamdi Omoni, said the dismembered body of the victim has been recovered and sent for an autopsy. An investigation is currently underway into the incident. The motive behind the gruesome killing of the vigilante leader is also under investigation, the News Nigeria reported.

The incident has caused panic among the local residents, many of them began fleeing the communities over fear of further attacks. They are also in shock as attacks by thugs and other criminal groups have been on the rise recently. Several people have reportedly locked themselves inside their homes to avoid any threatening activity following the death of the leader.

crime scene Representational image Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images