A medical personnel suspected to be providing medical services to militants that have been terrorising Ukanafun and other local governments in Akwa Ibom State is now on the run.
He has abandoned his pharmacy and family members at Ikot Ibekwe, the village where the late Iso Akpafid came from, as soldiers stormed the village again, on Thursday.
It was learnt that the security operatives, acting on a tip-off, stormed some villages in the local government, including Okoyo, where they arrested some suspected militants.
The suspects were said to have given some names of people believed to be providing services to the militants and helping them in some areas, to enable them continue to operate.
The medical personnel, who was identified as Ukpong, was said to have fled his pharmacy before the operatives arrived, prompting the operatives to raid the shop and set drugs in the shop ablaze.
While security operatives are working hard to restore normalcy in the local government, TNN has learnt that some militants in the riverine parts of the Ukanafun were enjoying the protection of some chiefs and natives, who were said to have taken oath not to expose them.
TNN learnt that the militants who operate from the creeks of the riverine areas are enjoying the assistance of some highly placed natives from Edem Idim, Ukwa Ikot, Ahaobu, Ikot Inyang Udo 1, Ikot Enang, Obon Ebot, Ikpe Annang and other adjoining villages.
In fact, it was learnt that the militants are even helped with girls to cook for them when they return with the yield of their terror acts. Some of the chiefs are even said to have given some of their girls to the militants as wife objects.
It was learnt that the militants had threatened the chiefs and leaders of the riverine villages not to flee their homes, because they their houses would be razed before their return.
They were also said to have been warned not to disclose any information to security operatives that could lead to their arrest.
One of the natives from the riverine communities told TNN that the only solution to the militants' saga was for the government to forcefully evacuate the villages from the riverine areas and camp them somewhere else for a few days, as that would expose the militants hiding in those villages.
The native said “all those our big men, they know these boys. They are protecting them. When the boys come out of the creeks to go and terrorise people and get money, it is the same our people that give them girls to cook for them and they even give them the girls to marry.”
He said the militants were operating comfortably in those places because they had the protection of some chiefs and local village leaders. “Have you not noticed that in those villages, those chiefs have not fled like what you see in other villages in the urban areas?
“They have been warned not to flee, otherwise their houses would be burnt. So, they stay put, to give cover to the bad boys, creating the impression before security operatives that those villages are calm.”
Meanwhile, security operatives were said t have stormed Okrika town on Friday night in their efforts to arrest some of the militants believed to have hidden in the area.
A security official told TNN that a special team was deployed to lay ambush for the militants in Okrika and some parts of Port Harcourt, following a tip-off, that the boys had fled Akwa Ibom and were taking refuge in Rivers State.
Police commissioner in Akwa Ibom, Adeyemi Samuel Ogunjemilusi however told TNN in a telephone interview on Sunday night that he was yet to be briefed on the outcome of the special operations that were sent to Rivers State to track down the boys.
But Ifeanyi Ogbonda, media aide to HRH Ateke Tom who reacted to the issue of the arrest said he was not sure anybody in the name of militant from Akwa Ibom was arrested in Okrika.
He said over the telephone that it was not possible that operatives would storm Okrika to make arrests and he would not know, except the operatives got in and left the town through the sea route.