Fifteen persons suspected to be in connection with the spate of killings and kidnappings in Etim Ekpo and Ukanafun Local Government Areas of the state have been apprehended by Akwa Ibom Police Command.
DSP Bala Elkana, the Command’s Public Relations Officer, said the command’s community policing approach and the recently launched Operation Purge by the Commissioner of Police, Zubairu Muazu, made it possible for the arrest of the suspected members of a kidnap syndicate.
Elkana, who was on a familiarisation visit to the correspondents’ chapel in Uyo over the weekend, declined to disclose their names for security reasons, saying the suspects are responsible for high-profile killings and kidnappings in the two local government areas of the state.
He said a cartel behind killings in the areas created much fear in the people, and command had to allay such fear by launching “a well-coordinated undercover operation which resulted in the arrest of the 15 suspects.
Vanguard gathered that in the past one year, the criminal suspects had killed more than 20 people, including high profile persons in the areas, which the Command’s spokesman described as politically motivated.
As a result of killings and kidnappings, residents in most communities affected in Ukanafun and neighbouring Etim Ekpo Local Government areas now take refuge in Uyo, the state capital, Ikot Ekpene and other neighbouring communities for months now.