Residents of Inen community in OrukAnam local government area of Akwa Ibom State, seems not to be enjoying peace as they have deserted their homes as a result of frequent attacks by members of Dbam and Iceland confraternities engaging in a battle of supremacy for about eight months now.
The people are crying out for help from the state government as they do not want to have the experience of Etim Ekpo and Ukanafun council areas when similar incidence forced them out of their villages for about three years.
It was gathered that what started as a clash for supremacy between two rival cult groups has escalated to the point that indigenes had to abandon their homes and take refuge in neighbouring villages for fear of a possible genocide in the area.
]It is alleged that over 30 persons have been killed and many declared missing by close relatives while scores are receiving treatment in various hospitals in Akwa Ibom since this show of force by these two cult groups started
In a conversation with newsmen in a hospital in Uyo on Wednesday, the wife of a victim, Mr. Friday Ufenang, whose husband was shot in the church vestry during early morning prayers two Sundays ago, said her husband survived by God’s mercy after surgeries on ]the head to extract bullets.
]Continuing, she said, she needed more than N500,000 for other operations to get her husband back to life again.
Another victim, a retired police Inspector Okon Josiah Udoh is now taking treatment in an undisclosed hospital in uyo for injuries he sustained when cultists attempted to kill him in the area.
An eyewitness who pleaded anonymity said the case of the retired police officer was very pathetic given his health condition before he was attacked by the hoodlums.
He said the police officer had relocated to the community and was bedridden with stroke at the time when the blood thirsty cultists started killings in the communi]ty.
A resident Victor Johnny told newsmen that visited the area that, hostilities perpetrated by hoodlums have crippled both social and religious activities in the area.
“Last Sunday no Church in the community held worship service given that an Elder was s]hot i]n the church vestry during prayers. All the churches closed down and members re]sorted to attended services in neighboring villages.
“The worst of it all is that all the schools, primary and secondary in the area have not resumed as teachers and pupils could not return for fear of hoodlums who may cause havoc at any time”.
Narrating his personal experience, another resident, Friday Emmah, a poultry farmer told our newsmen how he escaped death by the whiskers in the hands of the cultists.
According to him, the cultists first invaded his poultry and removed 200 chickens at different occasions out of 600 birds leaving only 400 in the farm and later broke windscreen of his car.
He said when he observed that the cultists may descend on him any moment, he quickly auctioned the remaining birds in the farm , gathered his family and fled to Rivers State for safety .
” While I was hiding in Port Harcourt, the hoodlums sent a message through my younger brother that I should give them two hundred thousand naira(N200,000) or they will burn down my house in the village . In reply I told them to go ahead and set the house ablaze if such action would cause them stop killings of innocent people “.
Emmah said the following day the” bad boys” went to his house in the village breaking all aluminum glasses as they were angry for the response threat message.
He therefore urged Governor Udom Emmanuel to rise to occasion and avert the impending anarchy reminiscent of the incident in Ukanafun local government area in the p]]ast where cultists later turn to militants holding the area to ransom for many years before the amnesty deal by government.
A motorcycle operator in the area, popularly known as “okada” at Ikot Ibritam junction, refused to carry any passenger to Inen community.
In a telephone interview, the Akwa Ibom State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Odiko Mcdon confirmed various killings and general insecurity in Inen community, saying the command was aware of all the atrocities by cultists in the area.
“The command is very angry over what is happening in that community. We have set up State special team to tackle cultists there. Many have been arrested. Operations is ongoing in the area. We intend to involve stakeholders in the community to unravel those behind all the killings there. For those arrested, they would soon be charged to court” he said.