20 reported dead as gunmen unleash terror on Oku Iboku
Posted by Okon Bassey | 23 April 2017 | 2,481 times
Gunmen suspected to have been mobilised by the people of Ikot Offiong in Odukpani local government area of Cross River State have again unleashed terror on the citizens of Oku Iboku in Itu local government area of Akwa Ibom state with dozens of people killed on the waterways that serve as boundary between the two sister states.
THISDAY checks revealed that twelve corpses of those murdered have been recovered while many are yet to be seen in the attack recorded on Friday.
Sources said the victims, mainly women and fishermen, were ambushed and attacked by the gunmen who invaded the territory without any resistance as they embarked on their normal daily farming and fishing businesses.
The attack, it was learnt, took place within the Western flank of the Cross River bank of the River where the defunct Oku Iboku paper mill had its jetty.
Sources said the gunmen went to the area with more than 15 flying boats and started shooting on the women who were returning from the farm; young men who were diving and in search of periwinkles and lobsters on the bed of the river, as well as fishermen on fishing expedition.
The bodies of those killed were reportedly dumped in the river while those who sustained gun and machete cuts who escaped to the village broke the news of the attack.
A community leader from Oku Iboku who pleaded for anonymity described the killing of indigenes of the area as a provocative attack.
“Innocent women and men who went in search of their mean of livelihood were just murdered for nothing. Some of the corpses dumped in the river were trapped by the fishing nets. Three corpses were recovered on Friday by the fishing nets and today (Saturday) another nine corpses have been picked up floating on the water,” he said
At the time of going to press, the people of Oku Iboku were said to be in a crucial security meeting over the development in the community.
The Chairman of the Itu Local Government Transition Committee, Mrs. Else Esara, confirmed the attack saying some dead bodies from the river have been recovered.
According to her, as at yesterday eight corpses had been recovered while divers were still in the river searching for more victims. “Nobody has been arrested; they came to our place and attacked us when we didn’t prepare and went back immediately,” she said.
The Akwa Ibom State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Chukwu Ikechukwu, told THISDAY that the report was yet to be confirmed, promising to give details when full information is gathered.
However, the Cross River state Police Public Relations Officer, Irene Ugbo, confirmed the report.
“Yes, we are aware of the problem but it is not true that 20 people were killed. As at yesterday we got information that they are trying to gather up again as the community people have another problem.
“As you know our men are already on ground because since the problem started we have not left that place, we have been on ground. Our men are there, we are trying to make sure the situation is calm. As for now no dead person has been confirmed. I think the area is calm because immediately, the commissioner of Police sent policemen there, she said.
On allegation that nine bodies were recovered as at yesterday, she said, “no, not up to nine bodies, I can’t tell you how many bodies have been brought but it is not up to that number…I can’t tell you of any number right now because the Area Commander of that area has sent his men out and when I called him this afternoon I asked him, he said he does not know yet that I should wait let him give me the confirmation. So I am still waiting”