Police operatives have taken over Ntak Ikot Akpan community in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom state following fierce air and ground offensive launched Tuesday by the military joint operation.
The military and other security agencies had succeeded in dislodging armed hoodlums suspected to be militia forces of the disbanded Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Checks by our correspondent who visited the scene on Wednesday revealed a deserted community, with virtually all homes shut.
Okon Ududo, a local games hunter, who pried from a nearby farm, said he spent the night in the bush following heavy bombardments around the area, disclosed of a lot of dead bodies in the forest of Ntak Ikot Akpan, the main epicenter of the crisis,
He noted that the corpses as perhaps, the remains of some of the fleeing hoodlums cut down by mid air strikes
“Our community was like a war zone because of heavy ground and air bombardments.
”Several people had already fled the community the previous day since the soldiers gave notice that the area would be under intense firefight to clear the militants out of our communities,” he explained, adding that the fleeing villagers were still in fear to return despite the return of normalcy to the troubled communities.
Suspected IPOB members, according to local residents, had invaded the Ntak Ikot Akpan community and hoisted the Biafran flag.
However, attempts by police operatives to dislodge them led to bloody confrontations with three policemen including a Chief Superintendent killed and four others, according to the Commissioner of Police (CP) Amiengheme Andrew, still unaccounted for.
It was gathered when soldiers were drafted in to make peace, the hoodlums reacted angrily and opened fire on the soldiers, who retreated and abandoned their operational Hilux van for the militants to set alight.
Meanwhile, Nigerian Army says normalcy has been restored to the troubled Ntak Inyang village, Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State after the military and security agencies joint operation in the area on Tuesday, April 6.
A press release issued by Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima, Director of Army Public Relations on Wednesday, April 7, said the operation was to flush out miscreants who killed policemen and terrorized law abiding citizens of the area.
Yerima said ”The general security situation in Akwa Ibom state has been very peaceful until recently when the security situation around Essien Udim Local Government Area of the State became tensed occasioned by activities of some hoodlums and criminal elements.
”The miscreants exploited various avenues to acquire weapons to perpetrate their heinous crimes. In the past few weeks, the group has attacked various security agencies which resulted in the loss of lives and carting away of weapons.’’
The Army spokesperson recalled ”The last incident led to the killing of some Policemen including a CSP. The hoodlums continued to terrorise law abiding citizens through extortions and infringement on their rights.
”Consequently a combined team of Military and Security Agencies in the State conducted a clearance operation at Ntak Ikot Akpan in order to flush out the miscreants.
”The operation was successfully executed and resulted in the dislodgment of the criminals while fleeing hoodlums were neutralised by the Air Component.
”Normalcy has been restored in the area while the Police personnel have since assumed full control and carrying out normal duties.
”Members of public are advised not to panic but to remain calm and continue to support the security agencies to further consolidate on the successes recorded so far,’’ the statement advised.