[From INI BILLIE, Uyo]
A police post in Inen community, Oruk Anam local government area, Akwa Ibom state has been burnt down by suspected cultists belonging to the Debam and Iceland confraternities.
The cultists who were said to have been terrorizing the area for the past eight months, reportedly burnt down the outpost at Inen junction on Monday night, forcing residents to flee their homes.
It was gathered that the policemen posted to the out station known as “Inen Ekeffe Police post” had absconded from their duty post in the wake of cult related violence and reprisal attacks in the area.
It was learnt that when the out station was functional, the cultists always overpowered the policemen posted to man the out station, killed and maimed rival gang members as well as innocent community citizens.
An eyewitness, Mrs Mfonobong Okorie said over 30 cultists barricaded the community road between Faith Tabernacle Church, Inen Ikot Etim and the gate of Al Madal Construction company, and snatched two motorcycles belonging to one Udeme Atanong and Ndifreke Otu respectively.
Okorie stated that after some hours, the cultists regrouped and moved towards Inen junction where they burnt down the police sub station at about 7pm amid the chant of war songs.
He said the burnt police post was the second house burnt down in the area within three days, after the cultists destroyed a former councillor’s house.
“Over 30 cultists barricaded the community road between Faith Tabernacle Church, Inen Ikot Etim and the gate of Al Madal Construction company, where they snatched two motorcycles belonging to one Udeme Atanong and Ndifreke Otu.
“After some hours, the cultists regrouped and moved towards Inen Junction where they burnt down the police substation at about 7pm chanting war songs.
“Residents who wanted to visit their houses to obtain food items and rush back to their settlement camps in neighbouring villages were trapped in the bush while the hoodlums molested and maimed anybody passing on the road.
“This police station was a rented property. It doesn’t belong to government but this night the cultists invaded the building and set it ablaze,” she stated.
One of the community leaders, Mr. Anyanime Umoren condemned the killings and wanton destruction of lives and property, saying the mayhem was unprecedented in the history of the community.
Umoren, who is the Public Relations Officer of Inen Stakeholders Forum, said the community leaders have written several letters to Governor Udom Emmanuel to restore peace to the once quiet community but are yet to get any form of response.
He said, “I don’t know what has come over our youths. Right now many people have deserted this community except aged persons who have nowhere to run to.
“Please let Governor Udom Emmanuel rescue us. We have written several letters to the Governor but no response. Killings continue here. No police to challenge these hoodlums.”
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, SP Odiko Mcdon confirmed the incident but insisted that the building was a dilapidated structure rented as an out station of the Nigerian Police.
He dismissed the incident as an ordinary fire that gutted an abandoned building in the area, saying everything should not be attributed to cultism.
“The building is a dilapidated one that was previously owned by police as an out station office for our personnel but later shutdown because of inadequate manpower in the force.
“How do you know that the fire was ignited by cultists? Everything there may not be cultism,” he said.