Suspected Gunmen Kidnap Youth Leader in A’Ibom

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Suspected gunmen Monday kdnapped the youth leader of Udianga Enem village in Etim Ekpo local government area of Akwa Ibom state, thus throwing the villagers into confusion.

It was gathered that Itoro Inuaowo, the youth leader was abducted by a militants gang suspected to belong to the Iceland cult fraternity.

According to a local vigilante, who would not want his name in print, “the gunmen arrived in his compound on three motorcycles at about 6 a.m. and whisked the youth leader away at gun point.”

It is speculated that the Iceland members, popularly called ‘The Red’, were on the prowl to avenge the gruesome murder of their leader, Akaniyene Jumbo (Iso Akpafid), who was ambushed and killed by security agents last month.

The motive of the kidnap is yet unclear, but our sources said the kidnapped of the youths’ leader is not unconnected with the frantic efforts made by the youths leader to raise funds for security of the community.

According to the source’ “following the inability of the village head, Chief Mendie Josiah Udoekoriko, to effectively discharge his responsibilities due to numerous threats by the militants, the youth leader decided to raise money to strengthen security network in community.

Meanwhile, youths of the area have launched mass protest following incessant killings of members of the community by the hoodlums, accusing the local government Chairman, Udeme Eduo, himself from Udianga Enem of “reneging in the responsibility of protecting lives and properties of those who voted for him.”

“We are living in exile in Iwukem because there are standby Police station and Mobile Police base here. The local government Chairman, Udeme Eduo, has not done anything in terms of security to protect lives and properties,” Effiok Essien, currently at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp at Iwukem, laments.

Anietie Umanah, an indigene, who decried the poor security situation in the area lamented that, “the village has been without a leader since last year because the militants threatened to kill the village head who has deserted his throne and now sleeps from church to church with his family.”

“This is farming season, we cannot plant because our farms are not safe. All the things we planted last season including our corns, yams, cassava, palm oil trees and farm produce have been taken over by gunmen.”

He called on governor Udom Emmanuel to come to their rescue.

Worried by the deplorable security situation in the area, Mr. Samuel Ogunjemilusi, the Commissioner of Police (CP), has sustained the “Operation Purge” launched by successive CPs aimed at dislodging the hoodlums, but lack of funding, according to security sources stalled the project.

“The Local Government Chairmen of both Etim Ekpo and Ukanafun had agreed to jointly fund the project in their areas, but I can tell you they are not complying,” a senior State Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) told our reporter on condition of anonymity.

When contacted, DSP Odiko Macdon Ogbeche, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state police command, said he is not aware of that.

Ogbeche noted, “I am not aware I have contacted the officers in charge and they not told me anything like that happened. Any whenever I have confirmation I will let you know. I can’t confirm what I am not aware.”