There was panic in Inen Ikot Esse village, Oruk Anam local government area on Sunday as gunmen invaded one of the Pentecostal churches [name withheld] shooting the church Elder while members scampered for safety.
It was gathered that the cultists numbering 10 stormed the church premises at exactly 7:05 am and went straight to the vestry where church officers were praying before commencement of worship service.
It was further gathered that because of the incident, other worshippers had to stay away from church that faithful Sunday for fear of being attacked.
An eyewitness, Mr. Sunday Ibanga, told our reporter that the Elder was accosted and shot severally on the head leaving him in the pool of blood causing other members to lie low as the assailants engaged in a shooting spree in the church premises.
Narrating the episode, Ibanga said the incident happened as the new Pastor posted to the church assumed duty that same Sunday before he reached out to the church headquarters for a vehicle to evacuate the victim to hospital for treatment.
Speaking at the hospital yesterday, the wife of the victim simply identified as Mrs. Iniobong said, the victim left for church that early morning to attend to his duties leaving her and the children at home to join him for the Sunday service later.
According to her, while preparing to join her husband in the church, she heard a loud screaming outside their compound from people who came to inform her that the husband had been shot in the church vestry during prayers.
“When I heard that my husband had been shot, I summoned courage and rushed to the church just to carry the corpse for burial. But I met policemen helping me to carry my husband to hospital for first aid before the main treatment in this hospital.
“Since yesterday my husband is surviving through oxygen here in the emergency ward. We need money to pay for various tests before surgery to remove the bullets in his head”, she said.
According to her, the incident occurred while there was negotiation between Debam and Iceland rival cult confraternities in the area to end protracted hostilities that have disrupted normal activities in the community.
“One volunteer told me that he had visited the camp of the two cult groups and they all denied their roles in the incident. So, I don’t know where the gunmen came from to shoot my husband”, she said.
Confirming the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer, SP Odiko Mcdon, said the perpetrators of the crime would soon be arrested to face the wrath of the law.
“I can confirm the incident in Inen Ikot Esse, OrukAnam local government area. It is unfortunate that such an incident happened in the church premises when it happened; it was the police that rushed the victim to hospital for treatment.
“The Commissioner of Police Andrew Amiengheme condemns the dastardly act and he has resolved to stem the tide of cultism in whatever form.
“However, investigation is ongoing to ensure that the perpetrators of such a dastardly act face the wrath of the law. I assure you that they would be brought to book in no distant time”, he said.