By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Inen Ikot Esse Village, in OrukAnam Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State on Sunday, was thrown into a sad mood as gunmen invaded a church (name withheld) shooting and killed a member during worship, while others scampered for safety.
It was gathered that the gunmen later identified a cultists numbering over 10 stormed the Church premises at exactly 7:05 am and went straight to the Vestry where Church Officers were praying before commencement of worship service . An eyewitness, Mr Sunday Ibanga said the victim, an Elder was accosted and shot on the head leaving him in his pool of blood.
Other worshippers according Mr Ibanga were ordered by the gunmen to lie low as they shot sporadically inside the church premises.
Narrating further, Ibanga said it happened as the new Pastor posted to the Church assumed duty the same Sunday.
He was said to immediately reached out to the Church Headquarters for vehicle to rush the victim to hospital.
Speaking at the hospital on Monday, the wife of the victim simply identified as Mrs Iniobong said her husband left for Church that early morning to attend to his duties leaving her and the children at home to join him for the Sunday service later.
He said while preparing to join him in the church she heard a loud screaming outside their compound from people who came to inform her that the husband has been shot in the Church Vestry during prayers.
“When I heard that my husband has been shot, I summoned up courage and rushed to the Church to him. I met policemen helping to carry my husband to hospital for emergency treatment.”
“Since then, my husband is surviving through oxygen here in the emergency ward. We need money to pay for various tests before surgery to remove the bullets in his head.”
She said the incident occurred while there was negotiation between Debam and Iceland rival cult confraternities in the area to end protracted hostilities that for many months hold their community in captivity.
“One volunteer told me that he had visited the camp of the two cult groups and they all denied their roles in the incident. So, I don’t know where the gunmen came from to shoot my husband”, she said.
When contacted on the incident, Akwa Ibom Police Public Relations Officer, SP Odiko MacDon said the perpetrators of the crime would soon be arrested to face the wrath of the law.
“It is unfortunate that such incident happened in the church premises. When it happened, it was the police that rushed the victim to hospital for treatment.”
“The Commissioner of Police Andrew Amiengheme condemned the dastardly act and he has resolved to stem the tide of cultism in whatever form.”
“However, investigations are ongoing to ensure that the pepetrators of such dastardly act face the wrath of the law. I assure you that they would be brought to book in no distant time,” SP MacDon said.
By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo