Residents of Oku Iboku community in Itu local government area of Akwa Ibom State have again been attacked by armed youths suspected to come from Ikot Offiong, its neibouring community in Odukpani local government area of Cross River State over dispute in boundary.
It was gathered that bandits from Ikot Offiong invaded Oku lboku community in the early hours of Tuesday and allegedly overpowered the military at the beach area popularly known as Esuk Oku, entered some villages, burnt down some houses and shops.
One person was allegedly killed during the crisis while scores were injured while fleeing from the armed youths.
Many families according to the sources from the area are currently taking refuge in neighbouring communities in the Local Government Area and Uyo, the State capital for fear of reinvasion.
It was gathered that the Ikot Offiong youths who came in two loaded 75 Horse power speedboats, engaged the military men positioned at the beach area in a gun battle for about 25 minutes.
A source who spoke to newsmen yesterday on the ground of anonymity said the military officers fled because the Ikot Offiong youths came with sophisticated weapons, stressing, “Since the Military could not stop them it means we are not safe, please pray for our community”
The Youth president of Oku Iboku could not be reached at the time of filing this report.
However, another youth leader from the area Mr. Emmanuel Ntukidem told our Correspondents yesterday that the community leaders have been busy trying to assess the level of destruction done to their community.
“There is very serious crisis currently in Oku Iboku. The Ikot Offiong youths attacked the community again this morning, burnt houses, shops. I learned that the House of the clan Head was among those torched. You can imagine that the Ikot Offiong beat the military positioned at the beach area, and invaded the village.
“We are angry because government said the reason for positioning the military in our community was to forestall further attacks but those armed youths still succeeded in invading Oku Iboku again. How can the military run away and allow those people to come into our community to destroy People’s houses and property?
“An eyewitness said the military officers were not overpowered, that they only fled. In fact, I heard that one person was killed, but we are yet to confirm the casualty figure. Tell Akwa Ibom state government that Oku Iboku people are angry, they have been abandoned to their fate.
“And from what is happening the Cross River State governor has not asked the rampaging youths to sheathe their swords, rather he is supporting them because their interest is in the oil deposit in the land. Why is our own governor always telling our people to be law abiding, and not to take Laws into their hands”
Confirming the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer, Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Odiko Macdon, said the police have not received any report of loss of life or lives.
“We have gotten a preliminary report about the seeming attack in the area. The detailed report has not come in. The Commissioner of Police has already asked the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in Itu to proceed to the location and get first hand information on the attack.
“He has also deployed more security personnel to that area and we have not received report of any loss of life. When the full detail is out, it will be communicated to newsmen”, he said.