Unrest In Akwa Ibom State As Unknown Gunmen Set INEC Office On Fire, Kill 12 Cows
The state government had imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on Essien Udim and other adjoining local government areas of Ikot Ekpene Federal Constituency, and several armed hoodlums on motorcycles were said to have broken it early Sunday morning at about 3 a.m. to launch the mayhem.
Weetalknaija also learned that the hoodlums launched another vicious assault on herdsmen, killing at least 12 cows grazing near a creek.
It was also learned that after the hoodlums shot the cows, they fled the scene to an undisclosed location, forcing the herdsmen to flee as well and alerting the security agencies.
Some locals went to the scene of the incident to harvest on the dead cows, not realizing that the herdsmen had alerted the 6 Battalion, Ibagwa in Abak Local Government Area, according to a source who did not want his name published.
”The soldiers who arrived in large numbers were said to have captured and taken them away to account for the death of cows,” the source told weetalknaija.
Mr. Don Etukudoh, the Director in-charge of Public Affairs at INEC’s Akwa Ibom State headquarters, confirmed the arson on the Essien Udim Office, but said he had yet to determine the motive of the arsonists.
“Yes, I can confirm that our Essien Udim office was destroyed by fire. We haven’t gotten any specifics yet,” he said, assuring that once he’s been properly briefed, he’ll be able to provide more information.
Mr. Anthony Luke, the Chairman of the Essien Udim Local Government Area, characterized the incident as unfortunate, given the fact that the local government area has recently become a hotbed of cult warfare, with security agencies such as the Police, Customs, and Army, as well as government institutions, being targeted as targets.
Last month, the hoodlums were attacked in their base in Ntak Ikot Akpan, Essien Udim, by a military operation that included land and aerial bombardments, and Luke claims the survivors have regrouped to resume the mayhem.
“It is true that hoodlums destroyed the INEC office in my Local Government Area. I have no idea who they are, what they want, or why they are acting so violently. Only the intelligence forces who have been on top of the situation will be able to figure out why these attacks have occurred. Herdsmen were also targeted by the hoodlums. He speculated, “I believe those herdsmen were taking their cows near where they launched the assault.”
Odiko MaCdon, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), a Police Superintendent, did not return calls, but his colleague at the state headquarters, Ikot Akpan Abia, said he might be in the Church or with the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Amiengheme Andrew, inspecting the incident scene.