Many killed in military operation in Akwa Ibom

Many people have been reportedly killed during a military operation on Tuesday in a community in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria’s South-south.

The Nigerian military carried out aerial bombardment in the community – Ntak Ikot Akpan – which it said was targeted at miscreants who attacked and killed some police officers in the local government area recently.

The police, last week, confirmed that three of their officers were killed, while four were missing in the area.

The Nigerian Army said on Wednesday that those killed during the military operation were ‘hoodlums.’ It did not, however, mention the number of people killed in the operation.

“The operation was successfully executed and resulted in the dislodgment of the criminals while fleeing hoodlums were neutralised by the Air Component,” the army spokesperson, Mohammed Yerima, a brigadier general, said in a statement.

According to Yerima, normalcy has been restored in the area, and that people could now go about their businesses.

The identity of those behind the attack on the security agents and why they did it remained unknown as of the time of this report.

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A police spokesperson in Akwa Ibom, Odiko MacDon, did not mention those responsible for the attack in a statement he issued on the incident.

The cause of the attack, he said, was unknown.

“Whereas the remote and immediate causes of these unprovoked attacks are unknown, a discreet investigation is on the way to unravel the same and seek a lasting solution,” he said.

The army statement also did not mention who was behind the attack on the police, apart from saying that some miscreants were trying to perpetuate crimes in the area.

“The general security situation in Akwa Ibom state has been very peaceful until recently when the security situation around Essien Udim Local Government Area of the State became tense occasioned by activities of some hoodlums and criminal elements.

“The miscreants exploited various avenues to acquire weapons to perpetrate their heinous crimes. In the past few weeks, the group has attacked various security agencies which resulted in the loss of lives and carting away of weapons.

“The last incident led to the killing of some policemen including a CSP. The hoodlums continued to terrorise law-abiding citizens through extortions and infringement on their rights,” the army said in its statement.

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Essien Udim Local Government Area, which shares a boundary with the neighbouring Abia State, has been notorious for cult-related violence and killings.

About four weeks ago, some gunmen attacked a police station in the area and set fire on parts of the station and some old vehicles which were parked as exhibits inside the station’s premises.

The attack was the second on police officers and police facilities in the area in less than one week.

The Akwa Ibom State Government, on March 26, banned the use of motorcycles and tricycles from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. in Essien Udim and two other nearby local government areas, in order to “check criminal activities.”

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