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20 Feb 2018

Suspected militants kill JTF informant in Akwa Ibom

Suspected militants have beheaded a Joint Task Force informant during an exchange of gunfire between the JTF and the militants when the security operatives raided the militants’ hideouts in the Etim Ekpo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.

The incident was said to have occurred on Sunday in Obon Ebot village.

 Our correspondent gathered that the JTF had  stormed the community to arrest a wanted militant leader, Aboy Ikpor, and his gang members, who reportedly led the Ikot Ekpene Prisons break last month during which no fewer than 40 inmates escaped.

A resident, Akpan Udotim, told PUNCH Metro on Monday that the militants ambushed, captured and beheaded the informant.

He said, “They ambushed the informant who was dressed in military camouflage and captured him. They chopped off his head and dumped his remains at Urua Obo Inyang Market.”

The Assistant Director, Public Relations, 2 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Major Shuaib Umar, could not be reached for comment as his telephone line rang out.

He had also yet to respond to a text message sent to his telephone.

But the Commander of the JTF team in charge of Etim Ekpo, Ukanafun, Oruk Anam, Ika and Ikot Abasi, Major Mohammed Hussain, who led the operation, confirmed the incident.

He said, “The dead person was our informant and we gave him military camouflage to wear so that he could lead us to the camp.

“They were three and we gave them military uniforms to lead us to the location of the militants’ camp to capture some of the suspects who escaped from the Ikot Ekpene Prisons. But when he heard gunshots, out of fear, he attempted to escape and I think bullets hit him.”

In another development, three civilians, including a woman, were reportedly  killed by suspected cult members in Udianga Enem, Ikot Obioma and Uruk Ata, all in the Etim Ekpo LGA.

It was gathered that the militants, who had been loyal to their deceased leader, Akaniyene Jumbo, alias Iso Akpafid, who was killed by the military in January, also kidnapped a teacher at  St. Joseph Primary School, Iwukem, Mr. Ekikeree Ukpekpe.

The teacher, who hails from Ikot Obioma village, was said to have been captured by the Red Boys cult on his farm after returning from his base in Ukanafun.

A source told our correspondent that Ukpekpe’s abductors demanded N1m from his family.

He said, “Such a huge amount won’t be easy for a family where both husband and wife are primary school teachers.

“Because of frequent crises in the community, the man had taken his family to a safe place in Ukanafun. He returned temporarily to his farm and was unlucky to be caught on the farmland by the hoodlums.”

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