There was pandemonium at Udianga Village in Etim Ekpo local government area of Akwa Ibom State as cult members invaded it and opened fire on a group of mourners at the weekend.
One person was killed and seven others injured.
The deceased simply identified as Udeme Dickson, was said to have died on the spot from bullets wounds while those injured have been taken to an undisclosed hospital in Uyo for medical treatment.
The latest attack by cult members on the restive communities of the council was allegedly led by a notorious militant leader of the Iceland cult group, Akaninyene Jumbo, alias ‘Iso Akpafid.
He hails from Ikot Ibekwe Village in the neighbouring Ukanafun local government area.
“We were just standing here to plan for the funeral of our in-law from Nto Unang Village after we returned from vigil, and suddenly we saw five motorcycles bearing armed men. Before we could escape, they opened fire immediately,” an eye witness who pleaded anonymity said.
“Some of us were lucky to escape unhurt, but our friend, Udeme Dickson, was caught in the head and chest by the bullets, while others fled with bullets wounds.
“The whole walls of the Udo Unwa Okpo compound where we stood to discuss our movement back to Nto Unang Village for the funeral proper, were completely shattered by the bullets fired randomly by the cultists,” the source further stated.
The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in-charge of Etim Ekpo, who simply identified himself as Mr. Chris, has confirmed the incident.
He said the efforts of the police to tackle the problem were being frustrated by political leaders of the area.
He said, “It is a very pathetic situation because the entire area is deserted. When the incident happened, we went there with over 10 Police patrol teams, but sadly, we could only see few old men and women who are barely able to walk.
“The local government chairman has not been cooperating with the Police and no one is ready to volunteer information. They know these cult members, but they are not willing to provide information on where they could be located.
“It is not only us that have knowledge of what is going on in Etim Ekpo. The Police high Commands including the Inspector General Police (IGP) and the State Headquarters are aware.”
He lamented that lack of cooperation by political leaders of the area including the council chairman, was hampering Police action.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Chukwu Ikechukwu, said in a situation where local residents were not ready to volunteer information; it would be difficult for the Police to get result.
“When the people are not reporting the matter and collaborate with security agencies to apprehend the criminals there is very little the police can do.”
He urged community and political leaders to partner with security agencies in order to end the challenge of cultism and other related crimes in the< place.