Ikot Ibekwe village, hometown of the slain Ukanafun terrorist, Akaninyene Jumbo, popularly known as
Iso Akpafid, has suddenly become a flash point for militants and security operatives.
Apart from Ikot Ibekwe, the neighbouring Nkek village, his grand maternal home, has also come under serious focus by the militants. Ironically, Ikot Ibekwe was one village that was very safe even before the killing of Iso Akpafid.
Even after his death, the village was a no-go area for militants. This is because Iso Akpafid had warned them not to carry out action in his village. They obeyed him for sometime until now that the village has come under attack.
On Tuesday night, the militants were said to have gone to a foremost Pentecostal church at the neighbouring Nkek village, Jesus The Way Gospel Church, where they placed a demand notice for half a million naira from the church.
Same night, they moved into Ikot Ibekwe and took away a former village chairman, Emmanuel Dickson. His children told TNN on Friday that they were yet to hear from the man since then.
Two days after, on Thursday, the militants stormed the village again. They kidnapped a woman, Mrs Iboro Etim, whose husband works at a secondary school at Obong Ntak. The woman is said to be selling foofoo. As at Friday, her whereabouts were still uncertain.
While the militants keep terrorising the village, security operatives were said to have stormed the village and razed a property belonging to Mr Ezekiel Akpan. It was not immediately clear why they decided to burn the house.
But sources in the village said there was a suspicion that the militants converted the building to their hideout and a veritable camp where they hide their kidnap victims, as the owners had fled the village to take refuge in Port Harcourt.
Only last week, the police in Akwa Ibom had celebrated the arrest of some of the suspected militants and the rescue of some kidnap victims.
Those arrested were Emmanuel Ime Jumbo, a.k.a K1, a notorious kidnapper and second in command to one Unyime Akpan a.k.a Overcomer, suspected to have been responsible for the murders, kidnappings and robberies around Etim Ekpo and Ukanafun Local Government Areas.
This team was also suspected to be part of those responsible for the attack on the Joint Task Force stationed at Iwukem, in Etim Ekpo Local Government Area penultimate week. The following successes were recorded.
Also, the following persons were said to have been arrested by the police at Ikpe Annang, the notorious village that the militants are believed to have used as their major operational base.
They include Ubom Ime Jumbo 'm', a native of Ikpe Annang in Ukanafun Local Government Area, Godwin Sifonobong Ukpong 'm', a native of Udianga Enem in Etim Ekpo Local Government Area, Mary Isaac John 'f', a native of Uruak Ata 2, in Etim Ekpo Local Government Area.
In the course of the operations at Ikpe Annang, five persons were rescued from the kidnappers den, among them, Etim Francis Etuk 'm', 50yrs old, a native of Uruk Ata 2 in Etim Ekpo Local Government Area. He was abducted along Uruk Ata/Iwukem Road on 4th July, 2018 around 9am.
Also rescued were Mrs. Mercy Peter Udoh, a native of Ikot Obioma village in Etim Ekpo Local Government Area, who was abducted on 11th July, 2018 in her residence; Ntiense Effiong, a 20 year old a native of Ikot Obiodo village, Ukanafun Local Government Area, who was abducted along Iwukem Road.
A 23 year old girl, Godgift Idara, from Ikot Essien village in Ukanafun Local Government Area who was abducted on 15th July, 2018, a day after her traditional marriage, as well as Ime Isaac Akpan, a native Ikot Obioma village.