Militants Still Harassing Natives In A’Ibom Villages

Militants Still Harassing Natives In A’Ibom Villages

Even with the acclaimed successful implementation of the amnesty programme by the Akwa Ibom State government, some disgruntled cultists are still harassing natives in some villages, especially in the Etim Ekpo.

TNN learnt that some of the unrepentant youths are still not in the mood to surrender, although sources said they are in a very infinitesimal proportion.

It was also learnt that even those who had surrendered their arms are now in the habit of stopping traders on the road, especially on major market days, and asking them to give them money to feed.

This is regardless of what TNN learnt the repentant militants got from the state government after they decided to surrender.

About 207 cultists-turned militants have so far laid down arms. But a few others are still operating in the jungle.

Investigations show that some of the youths from Ukanafun wards 2 and 3 especially Ikot Udo (Ohaobu Ndoki), Ikot Odiong, Idung Idem Isoh, Edem Idim, Ikot Enang, Obon Odo, Idung Uko Udo, Ikot Akpan Eyara, Ikot Inyang Udo, Idung Idem Udo and Okoyo, among others have ignored the amnesty call.

“These communities are not safe as the 'boys' continue to hold sway in the villages and perpetrate havocs there.

“Some of the aggrieved youths in the area who refuse to lay down arms are using them to terrorise innocent persons and put their communities under perpetual fear,” an anonymous indigene of Idung Uko Udo said.

It was alleged that the youths said to be sceptical of the state government's rehabilitation programme are purportedly living in the Blue River and in sprawling forest spanning many villages and abounding the river.

At the peak of the skirmishes, some people in the affected communities had to flee to Iwukem in Etim Ekpo, Abak, Uyo and Ikot Ekpene, among others for safety.

A primary school teacher (name withheld) from Ikot Odiong in Ukanafun said some of the youths go about the affected communities brandishing their guns and shooting sporadically.

“From time to time you hear sporadic gunshots even in the daytime. It is even scary in the night as they shoot at will to further instill fear in the residents of the 'controlled territories” the source said.

Along Abak-Ikot Akpa Nkuk Road, few motorcyclists and motor cyclists daily ply the axis from Ukanafun village jetting to Abak and other safer communities to escape their angst.

Sadly, the road witnesses dwindling traffic at times with three or four vehicles plying the road measuring more than 20 kilometres.

Meanwhile, most internally displaced persons of Etim Ekpo and Ukanafun local government areas of Akwa Ibom State have not yet returned home for fear of their lives.

It is alleged that some of the youths yet to return their arms are still making their communities ungovernable, a prominent indigene from Ikpe told the online newspapers.

Since peace and normalcy are still elusive, most residents of Uruk Ata 11, Ikot Udobong, Obon Obot, Ikot Esop and Ikpe in Etim Ekpo and Ikot Udo Obobo, Ikot Akpa Nkuk and Ikot Inyang Abia, among others in Ukanafun are postponing their days in returning home.

When TNN reached the state police commissioner, he did not take his call. But he later sent a text message and promised to call back later.

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