Daring cultists have allegedly razed a police outstation in Inen Ekeffe, Oruk Anam Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
The incident alleged to have been perpetrated by some members of Iceland and Dbam confraternities occurred on Monday night, the latest in the orgy of rival clashes, killings and terrorism in the last eight months.
So far, more than seven persons have been killed while hundreds of the community have relocated to neighbouring communities.
It was learnt that policemen at the outpost situated at the Inen Ekeffe police outpost ran away from their duty post during the Monday night clash between the two rival groups.
An eyewitness, Mfonobong Okorie said, “They also barricaded the community road between Faith Tabernacle Church, Inen Ikot Etim and the gate of Al Madal Construction Company where they snatched two motorcycles belonging to one Udeme Atanong and Ndifreke Otu respectively.
“Residents who wanted to visit their houses to obtain food items and rush to their settlement camps in neighbouring villages were trapped in the bush while the hoodlums molested and maimed anybody passing on the road.”
Okorie said after some hours the cultists regrouped, moved towards Inen Junction and chanted war songs before they burnt down the police substation at about 7 p.m.
Okorie explained the burnt police post was the second within three days after a former councillor’s house was destroyed by the cultists.
“This police station was a rented property. It doesn’t belong to government but this night the cultists invaded the building and set it ablaze,” he stated.
One of the community leaders, Mr. Anyanime Umoren, condemned the wanton destruction of lives and property, describing such mayhem as unprecedented in the history of the community.
Umoren, a Public Relations Officer of Inen Stakeholders Forum, said the community leaders have written several letters to Governor Udom Emmanuel to act immediately to restore peace to the once quiet community but no response in any form.
The state Police-Public Relations Officer, Akwa Ibom Command, SP Odiko Mcdon, confirmed the incident, but argued that the building was dilapidated structure rented as an outstation of Nigeria Police.
“The building is a dilapidated one that was previously owned by police as an outstation office for our personnel but later shut down because of inadequate manpower in the Force,” he stressed.
Mcdon dismissed the incident as an ordinary fire that gutted an abandoned building in the area, saying everything should not be attributed to cultism.
“How do you know that the fire was ignited by cultists? Everything there may not be cultism,” he queried.