A mobile police officer was killed, while a policeman shot an apologist of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), identified as Imo John Udo from Ikot Edem Udo in an attack on Essien Udim Council of Akwa Ibom State yesterday.
This followed, as several persons were also feared dead during a gun battle at the Ini Council Divisional Police Station about 4:30a.m.
The Guardian learnt that suspected terrorists invaded the area with motorcycles and immediately opened fire on the police station.
Eyewitnesses said the operation lasted some minutes, as men of the Police Quick Intervention Unit (QIU) with their Ikot Ekpene Area Command counterparts confronted them in a gun duel and killed a suspected IPOB member, who they said was in critical condition with slim chances of survival.
When contacted, the Akwa Ibom State Command Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Odiko Macdon, confirmed the attack, saying security operatives were on top of the situation.
MEANWHILE, the Midim Community in Essien Udim Council has accused security operatives of intimidation and harassment of its people over alleged links with IPOB.
The community, however, commended the state government for initiating the move to sanitise the community of IPOB’s secession agenda, but lamented that the method being deployed to gather intelligence was faulty.
A representative of the community, Victor Udom, who spoke with journalists in Uyo, yesterday, said rather than seek intelligence from critical stakeholders, security operatives chose to gather intelligence from those he described as “biased, mischievous and politically influenced sources.”
Udom, who spoke in company of five village heads making up the Midim Community, said such biased intelligence gathering had made the sanitisation exercise unsuccessful, leading to arrests and intimidation of innocent people, leaving the real hoodlums.
“We acknowledge recent efforts aimed at ridding the state of IPOB and the Eastern Security Network (ESN) secessionist incursions, terrorists and bandits now taking over the state and we applaud the effort of the Joint Task Force (JTF) by security agencies and will always be willing to support government’s initiative.
“We are, however, concerned that in embarking on this sensitive exercise, the security agencies chose to get intelligence from a biased, mischievous and politically influenced source instead of involving credible stakeholders for effective and successful drive, resulting in failure to get the real hoodlums in the various communities.
“The bandits now escape, while our innocent people or those who commit minor offences have been wrongly targeted for intimidation, arrests and extrajudicial killings,” he said.
Udom told The Guardian that the communities were protesting against the recent takeover, intimidation, indiscriminate arrests, torture and deliberate implication of the locals in the name of routing IPOB/ESN members and other criminals by men of the Nigerian Police and Army.
“We condemn all acts of hostage taking, dehumanisation and extra- judicial killings of innocent people and urge government at all levels to intervene and bring all acts of barbarism not known to law to an end in Midim and Essien Udim Council,” he added.
He said it was through the efforts of the community that the Akwa Marine Cult, which specialised in raping, kidnapping and rigging elections was eliminated, adding that ignoring such efforts and resorting to blackmail, intimidation and elimination of the indigenes was a conspiracy that should not be over looked