Suspected Niger Delta militants have reportedly killed a 'soldier' in a bloody shootout carried out by a combined team of soldiers, Department of State Services (DSS) officers, the police and other para-military officers in a raid of militants’ hideout in Etim Ekpo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, South-South, Nigeria.The incident, it was learnt, happened in Obon Ebot village on Sunday, when the JTF stormed the community to arrest a wanted militant leader, popularly called ‘Aboy Ikpor’ and his gang, who reportedly led the Ikot Ekpene prison break in which no fewer than 40 inmates escaped last month.
“They ambushed the soldier in a military fatigue, captured and killed him. They chopped off his head and later dumped his headless body at Urua Obo Inyang market”, Akpan Udotim, a local resident of Ikot Unna village told reporters. Besides, three other civilians including a woman were said to have been killed separately by suspected cultists in Udianga Enem, Ikot Obioma and Uruk Ata 11, all in Etim Ekpo LGA.
When contacted via phone, the Assistant Director, Public Relations at the 2 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Major Shuaib Umar, could only reply through a text, “I am in a meeting”. But the Commander of the JTF team in-charge of Etim Ekpo, Ukanafun, Oruk Anam, Ika and Ikot Abasi Local Government Areas, who led the operation, confirmed the incident but denied the dead person 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.
In a related development, the militants, said to be loyal to their deceased leader, Akaniyene Jumbo, alias ‘Iso Akpafid’, who was ambushed and killed by the military last month, also kidnapped one Ekikere Hanson Ukpekpe, a teacher at Saint Joseph’s Primary School, Iwukem. The teacher, who hails from Ikot Obioma village, was seized by the ‘Red boys’ in his farm after returning from his base in Ukanafu to till the soil as the farming season begins. It was learnt his abductors are demanding N1million ransom. A family source said “such huge cash won’t be easy for a family where the man and the wife are primary school teachers”.
“Because of frequent crises in the community, the man had to evacuate his family to safer place in Ukanafun, but only return temporarily to farm and was unlucky to be caught in his farmland by the hoodlums”, the source added.
Culled from: Leadership Newspaper
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