By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Four persons including a soldier are alleged to have been killed in different attacks by gun men in Etim Ekpo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
The soldier, it was learn, was killed on Sunday by suspected militants group when members of Joint Task Force (JTF) comprises soldiers, department of state services (DSS), the police and other para-military officers raided the militants’ hideout in Obon Ebot village in the area.
It was learnt that the JTF where the slain soldier is a member, was on a mission to arrest a wanted militants’ leader, popularly called ‘Aboy Ikpor’ and his gang, who led the Ikot Ekpene prison break, where over 40 inmates escaped last month.
According to sources, the suspected militants “ambushed the soldier in a military fatigue, captured and killed him. They chopped off his head and later dumped his headless body at Urua Obo Inyang Market.”
When contacted via phone, the Assistant Director in-charge of Public Relations at the 2 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Uyo, Major Shuaib Umar, replied through text saying, “I am in a meeting”.
But the Commander of the JTF team in-charge of Etim Ekpo, Ukanafun, Oruk
Anam, Ika and Ikot Abasi local government areas, Major Mohammed Husseini who led the operation, confirmed the incident but denied the dead person was a soldier.
He explained that the dead person was one of the informants who were giving a military camouflage to wear so that he can lead the team to the militants’ camp.
“They were three and we gave them military uniform to wear so as to lead us to the location of their camp to capture some of the suspects, who escaped from Ikot Ekpene prison, but when he heard gunshots, out of fear he attempted to escape and I think bullets caught him”, Major Husseini explained.
Besides, three other civilians including a woman were said to have been killed separately by suspected cultists in Udianga Enem, Ikot Obioma and Uruk Ata 11, all in Etim Ekpo local government area.
In another development, the militants, alleged to be loyal to their deceased leader, Akaniyene Jumbo, alias ‘Iso Akpafid’, who was ambushed and killed by the military last month, has kidnapped one Ekikere Hanson Ukpekpe, a teacher at Saint Joseph Primary School, Iwukem.
The teacher, who hails from Ikot Obioma village, was seized by the ‘Red boys’ in his farm, after returning from his base in Ukanafun, to cultivate his parcel of land as the farming season begins.
It was learnt from a source that his abductors are demanding for N1million but a family source said, such huge cash won’t be easy for a family where the man and the wife are primary school teachers to get.
“Because of frequent crises in the community, the man had to evacuate his family to safer place in Ukanafun, but only return temporarily to farm and was unlucky to be caught in his farmland by the hoodlums”, the source added.