Militants kill 2 soldiers, abduct expatriate in Akwa Ibom
Some unidentified hoodlums have killed two soldiers and kidnapped an expatriate at the road construction site in Ukanafun local government area of Akwa Ibom State.
Our correspondent learned that the incident occurred on Tuesday afternoon as the expatriate engineer working with Al Madal Construction Company was inspecting the Ikot Ibritam, Inen Ekeffe and Odoro Ikot to Ukanafun road construction project awarded by Akwa Ibom State.
Until recently that the state government granted amnesty to cultists and militants, Ukanafun was a no-go area as the hoodlums headed by one Isoakpafid, held the area by the jocular, leading to the closure of schools, markets and other concerns in the area.
An eyewitness told newsmen that the two soldiers were killed while escorting the expatriate on a routine inspection of the road project along Idim Okpok mini bridge in Inen Ekeffe the boundary village between Oruk Anam and Ukanafun Local Government Area; and that the expatriate was immediately whisked away on the spot, while villagers scampered for safety.
“There was sporadic shooting here and before we knew what was happening, two soldiers were dead. The gunmen also escaped with the soldiers’ guns and took the expatriate to their hideout. Everybody here is in panic because we don’t know what the government would do in this matter,” the witness who identified himself as Friday Idiok, said.
The clan head of Inen, HRH Obong Johnson, Johnny Obosi, who confirmed the incident, said the community was at the burial of one of its sons, Mr. Udoimoh when they heard gunshots and the residents began to run away.
“We were at burial of one of our brothers, late Mr. Udoimoh when were about to be entertained, we heard gunshots. The next report was that two soldiers attached to expatriates working on the road project that links my community with Ukanafun have been killed and the expatriate kidnapped.”
Obong Obosi who could not establish the nationality of the kidnapped expatriate, said soldiers from Ibagwa barracks arrived in their ambulance and evacuated the bodies of the slain soldiers to the mortuary.
Another resident of the area Mr. Enobong Etuk observed that the incident was a fall-out of the collapse of government amnesty granted to militants from Ukanafun as government could not keep their own part of the bargain with the hoodlums.
“We wonder why this incident should happen. The project had continued smoothly in Oruk Anam axis but when it got to Ukanafun killing and kidnapping set in. Government must look inward to fish out perpetrators of this crime,” he said.
The spokesman for the 2nd Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Major Bashir Jajira, when contacted, promised to call back; and his call was still expected at the time of filing this report
However, the police command in Akwa Ibom State, through its Public Relations Officer, Mr Odiko Macdon, confirmed the incident and promised to ensure that those involved in the heinous crime will be arrested.
Macdon said the police got the report and made moves to arrest all the culprits.
“We have received information of the unfortunate dastardly incident at the road project in Ikot Ibritam, Inen Ekeffe leading to Ukanafun. We are working with our sister agencies to identity, arrest and prosecute those involved.”