What began like a cult war by some aggrieved youths in Etim Ekpo and Ukanafun local government areas in Akwa Ibom State has degenerated into militancy, taking a heavy toll on the lives of law enforcement agents and civilians.
Reports have it that a police officer of Akwa Ibom Police Command attached to headquarters, Ikot Akpan Abia in Uyo was, Thursday, killed by suspected militants in Ikpe Annang, Etim Ekpo.
This brings to three, the number of police officers so far killed by the militants in Etim Ekpo and Ukanafun this year, according to an authoritative source.
Recall that July 28, this year, the militants killed a soldier and five civilians in Iwukem, Etim Ekpo, an action that forced a detachment of soldiers to have set ablaze some houses and market stalls in the village.
The slain sergeant (names withheld) in company of other officers had arrived in the village at 5 a.m. on their way to the hideout of the militants to rescue persons abducted from Ikot Inyang Abia in Ukanafun local government area and other villages.
It was alleged that the informant who escorted the policemen to the hideout of the militants later turned a collaborator by informing the hoodlums that the officers were coming.
Before the arrival of the police in the deserted village that has witnessed incessant killings, rape and arson, the militants had ambushed and shot the officers, killing one in the process.
A person (names withheld), who attended Etim Ekpo/Ukanafun stakeholders’ meeting at Akwa Ibom Police headquarters, Ikot Akpan Abia in Uyo on Thursday, but spoke on condition of anonymity, confided in Straightnews that the state commissioner of police, Adeyemi Ogunjemilusi confirmed the information.
However, the detachment of policemen made a big break by recovering AK 47 rifle, three generators, plasma television, bags and clothes belonging to the miltants.
The police also arrested the mother of Okpongete Monday Iwok known as Overcomer, the notorious gang leader, said to be supplying illicit gin to the suspected militants.
Meanwhile, the police officers were said to have rescued a nine-year old child abducted from Ikot Inyang Abia by the militants.
Straightnews had reported Monday this week that a gang led by Englishman also known as Overcomer from Ikpe Annang in Etim Ekpo said to be angered by the arrest and detention of his wife abducted a nine-year-old child and seven women from Ikot Inyang Abia in Ukanafun.
In what looked like a retaliation, Overcomer was said to have allegedly accused the chairman of Ukanafun an indigene of Ikot Inyang Abia that he might have joined hands with some soldiers who arrested and detained his wife on basis that the suspect (Overcomer) should surrender himself to security operatives for interrogation before the woman is released.
It was reported that the militants also set ablaze the compound of the child’s uncle and other household valuables before disappearing with the child.