Gunmen have again wreaked havoc in Ikot Akpa Idem village in Ukanafun Local Government. They invaded the village on Sunday night and early Monday morning. By the time the village woke up from sleep, two corpses were already down.
Last week, there were in the same village, where they kidnapped a pastor from Qua Iboe Church. Monday morning’s attack was in the same church, where they killed an official who was conducting morning prayers.
The pastors kidnapped last week are yet to be freed till date. TNN learnt that the militants are from the same village and they carried out the latest operation unmasked.
It was learnt that they had earlier given notice to the victim, Unyime Udom, a petty trader, to pay them half a million if he wanted to live there in peace. Udom ignored them. But they visited him with their bullets and ended his life.
Sources said while the boys were terrorising the village, the villagers made frantic distress calls to security operatives in the state but no help came, until the militants accomplished their mission and departed.
About two months ago, in the same village, the militants had chased out a former vice chairman of the local government. They invaded the house, removed all his property and kept them outside, before setting the house on fire. The former council boss is still on asylum till date.
One of the villagers who spoke to TNN said “my brother, this thing has completely gone out of hand o. There are two corpses already now in our village. The boys entered and killed them. We don’t know why.”
Meanwhile, shop owners in Ukanafun are now groaning, as more people are leaving the area due to the increasing insecurity situation. Apart from shop owners, those whose property were being rented by teachers, nurses and other government officials are also suffering same fate.
A survey by TNN showed that from Okoyo to Ikot Ibekwe to Ikot Udo Obobo and up to the Ukanafun Local Government headquarters at Ikot Akpa Nkuk, up to 70 per cent of shops in those areas have been vacated.
It is worse around the major areas in Anwa Uyo Junction, Amiama Agwo junction. Some of the shops along the WASCO road leading to the biggest market in the local government, Urua Akpan Assiek have also been shut, as the tenants have since relocated.
In the recent past, kidnappers have made life miserable for people there. And for fear of being harassed by suspected cultists and militants who have been terrorising the area and the neighbouring local governments, the shop owners decided to close their shops and move either to Abak or Uyo.
As it is now, there is hardly any reasonable shop in the local government headquarters and neighbouring villages.
In the same vein, nurses and teachers have also moved out of their homes for fear of being kidnapped. The kidnappers have been going after teachers and nurses, of late.
The situation has already led to a temporary inactivity in schools. The government decided to ban the activities of commercial motorcycles in the area, as a way of checking the activities of the hoodlums. But even at that, there seem to be no notable result.