At least, one person died as suspected secret cultists clashed with traders in the popular Obo Annang Market in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
The market which is sold once in a week and patronised by traders from neighbouring local government areas including Uyo and Abia State has ownership spreads across Ikot Esi Idomo, Afaha Essang, Ukana Akpautong, Adiasim, and Ikot Ankwa villages.
Straightnews learned that the cultists numbering 80 who came on motor cycles arrived at the market when some traders were busy offloading their wares while others were displaying and hawking theirs in the market located on Eka Uruk Eshiet-Mkpatak-Ukana Road.
An eyewitness told Straightnews that the suspected cultists from Ukana Ikot Ofok came on a revenge mission because one of their members was killed by another cult group from Ikot Esi Idomo, one of the villages where the market is located.
“On Saturday, November 21, the cultists struck in the market and shot sporadically into air and the market to scare away the traders. Traders scampered to different hideouts for their safety. Some sustained injuries while the rest lost their wares.
“In the process, one of the traders was hit by stray bullet and the person died on the spot. Unfortunately, the cultists used the opportunity to loot goods and wares of the traders.
“The police in the area could not quell the skirmish and looting. It was the soldiers from Ibagwa Army Cantonment who came and calmed the unbearable atmosphere.
However, Straightnews called on the Akwa Ibom Police and Public Relations Officer, SP Odiko MacDon on telephone Sunday to confirm the story.
“I have not yet been briefed about the incident. I am not aware. Once the Divisional Police Officer in the area briefs me, I will let you know about it tomorrow,” MacDon said.