Suspected cultists have gone berserk, maimed a widow with five children and besieged the agrarian Inen Ikot Offiong community in Oruk Anam Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
The widow and more than 3,000 persons said to be displaced from the community are victims of a bloody clash between the Iceland and Debam secret cults that has claimed some lives, rendered the community inaccessible, and cut off many from their means of livelihood.
Meanwhile, Aniema Etuk, the widow from the community is writhing in pains on her sick bed following severe injuries she sustained in the hands of the suspected cultists.
Etuk who reportedly left the temporary Internally Displaced Camp – Christ Faith Church, Ikot Ibritam- to fetch food for her famished children was accosted at Inen Junction, manhandled by the cultists and left in the pool of her blood.
Narrating the bizarre incident, she said, “I am a widow. I fled from Inen Ikot Offiong when the activities of the cultists became unbearable. I ran away the day cultists set the police post ablaze. The building was very close to my house. So, I picked my children and ran to Christ Faith Church, Ikot Ibritam, the council headquarters where all of us in the community are taking refuge.
The widow who is receiving treatment in an undisclosed hospital in Uyo, Akwa Ibom capital, narrated “On Monday, my children were crying for food. I asked myself what I have done to deserve this kind of treatment? Then, I moved to the village at about 10 a.m. to bring food items from my farm for them. As I arrived at Inen Junction close to my house, the cultists numbering 20 ordered me to stop. They came and slapped me one by one. Two of them brought out matchets and severed my legs, hands, and other parts of my body,” she cried.
“I don’t know how my children are doing to survive in the church premises now. Here, I need money for food and drugs to settle my medical bill.”
She has, therefore, appealed to the State government and donor agencies to come to her aid.
The community and many others in Inen clan have been turned to a theatre of cult war in several months now, resulting in the death of more than seven persons.
The Public Relations Officer of Inen Stakeholders Forum, Mr. Anyanime Umoren said indigenes of the community and in Diaspora considered the plight of people who fled the community in the wake of cultist hostilities in the area and contributed money to buy food items for the people at the IDP camp in Ikot Ibritam, the council headquarters.
He said the chairman of the Forum, Barr. Akpan Brown and Elder Uduak Ewitat with other people bought about three bags of Garri and other foodstuffs to share to the displaced persons in the camp at Christ Faith Church, though the food items were not enough for the people.
According to him, “We discovered that the food items could not go round for about 3,000 refugees in the camp including women and children. We decided to stop sharing to avoid uproar in the camp.
“Right now, we have levied our people so that we can raise money and buy more foodstuffs for the people. We are pleading with donor agencies and Government to save these displaced persons from hunger and starvation while the government is tackling the wave of cultism occasioned by killings and all forms of hostilities in the area.”
“The widow now in the hospital needs more than N3 million for treatment and we don’t know how the money would be raised to save her lives. The children she left to feign for them are now stranded in the camp. It is a terrible situation. We need help,” he said.
Umoren urged the government and the wife of governor, Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel to visit and ameliorate the plights of the refugees and vulnerable women now camping at Christ Faith Church, Ikot Ibritam.
In a telephone interview with our reporter, SP Odiko Mcdon, the Police Public Relations Officer in Akwa Ibom, said the command is tackling cultism in the area as there is an ongoing special operation to bring perpetrators of the nefarious acts to book.
“There is a special operation in the area to fish out the cultists terrorising the community,” Mcdon said.