AKWA IBOM, Nigeria – Some irate youths suspected to be members of Debam and Iceland confraternities on Monday night burnt down a police post at Inen junction, Oruk Anam local government area of Akwa Ibom State.
In the past eight months, the two cult groups have had a series of bloody clashes and have continued to terrorize the community.
It was gathered that policemen posted to a substation in Inen Ekeffe had fled their duty post following cult-related violence in the area, leaving the hoodlums to engage in daily reprisal attacks.
Reports said the cultists always overpowered the police killing and maiming members of rival gangs and other innocent people in the community.
An eyewitness Mfonobong Okorie who narrated the incident said, “the cultists numbering over 30 barricaded the community road between Faith Tabernacle Church, Inen Ikot Etim and the gate of Al Madal construction company where they snatched two motorcycles belonging to one Udeme Atanong and Ndifreke Otu respectively.
“Residents who wanted to visit their houses to obtain food items and rush back to their settlement camps in neighbouring villages were trapped in the bush while the hoodlums molested and maimed anybody passing on the road ”
“After some hours the cultists regrouped and moved towards Inen Junction where they burnt down the police outpost at about 7pm chanting war songs ”
He added that the burnt police post was the second within three days after a former councillor’s house was destroyed by the cultists.
Also speaking, one of the community leaders Mr. Anyanime Umoren condemned the killings and wanton destruction of lives and properties saying such mayhem was unprecedented in the history of the community.
Umoren, a Public Relations Officer of Inen Stakeholders Forum said the community leaders have written several letters to governor Udom Emmanuel to act immediately to restore peace to the once quiet community but got no response in any form.
“I don’t know what has come over our youths. Right now many people have deserted this community except aged persons who have nowhere to run to. Please let governor Udom Emmanuel rescue us. We have written several letters to the governor but no response. Killings continue here. No police to challenge these hoodlums” he said.
However, the Police Public Relations Officer, Akwa Ibom State Command, SP Odiko Macdon when contacted said it was an ordinary fire that gutted an abandoned building and should not be attributed to cult activity.
“The building is a dilapidated one that was previously owned by police as an outstation office for our personnel but later shut down because of inadequate manpower in the force.
“How do you know that the fire was ignited by cultists? Everything there may not be cultism.” The PPRO queried.