Fear has gripped the people of Obon Ebot in Etim Ekpo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State as suspected militants on Sunday, February 18, 2018, beheaded a soldier and killed three civilians during a clash with members of the Joint Task Force, JTF.
The bloody clash occurred when a combined team of soldiers, men of the Department of State Services, DSS, the Police, and other para-military officers raided the militants’ hideout in the area.
Trouble started when the JTF stormed Obon Ebot community to arrest a wanted militant leader popularly known as Aboy Ikpor and his gang members who allegedly masterminded the Ikot-Ekpene Prison jailbreak, where 40 inmates escaped last month.
An eyewitness said on Monday that the soldier was captured by the militants who later beheaded him and dumped his body at Urua Obo Inyang Market.
He said: “They ambushed the soldier in a military fatigue, captured and killed him. They chopped off his head and dumped his headless body at Urua Obo Inyang Market.”
The civilian victims who included a woman were allegedly killed separately by suspected cultists in Udianga Enem, Ikot Obioma and Uruk Ata 11, all in Etim Ekpo Local Government Area.
Also, militants loyal to their deceased leader, Akaniyene Jumbo, alias ‘Iso Akpafid’, who was ambushed and killed by the military last month, have kidnapped one Ekikere Hanson Ukpekpe, a teacher at Saint Joseph Primary School, Iwukem.
The teacher, who hails from Ikot Obioma village, was kidnapped by the militants when he was returning home from his farm.
It was learnt that his abductors demanded for N1million, which a family source said they could not afford.
When contacted, the Assistant Director of Public Relations at the 2 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Major Shuaib Umar, replied through text: “I am in a meeting.”
But the Commander of the JTF team in Etim Ekpo, Ukanafun, Oruk Anam, Ika and Ikot Abasi Local Government Areas, who led the operation, confirmed the incident but denied that the beheaded man was a soldier.
According to him, “the dead person was just our informant and we gave him military camouflage to wear so that he can lead us to the camp”.
“They were three and we gave them military uniforms to wear so as to lead us to the location of their camp to capture some of the suspects, who escaped from Ikot Ekpene Prison, but when he heard gunshots, out of fear he attempted to escape and I think bullets caught him”, he explained.
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