By Jonathan Ugbal and Patricia Illam
Information reaching CrossRiverWatch suggests that at least three trucks of soldiers has been deployed to the Ikom metropolis to compliment the efforts of the police to forestall a breakdown of law and order due to renewed hostilities between supporters of the two leading political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The soldiers are said to have arrived on Monday after an upsurge of attack on PDP faithful over the weekend which a resident who pleaded anonymity said was a spillover of the failed peace deal in Bendeghe community of neighboring Etung local government area.
“You know the PDP ward chairman in Bendeghe was shot dead. I gathered that the PDP people are vowing to avenge him but some of us are pleading for peace. I think this made the State send the soldiers to Ikom although some say it is the APC people that influenced the decision,” the resident told CrossRiverWatch.
Reports show that a peace deal called by the APC and PDP in Etung ended in a bloodbath with at least five people shot dead at the scene while some three more were butchered to death at hospitals and various places they were receiving treatment.
Both parties have kept mute with those willing to speak on condition of anonymity telling CrossRiverWatch that the problems began long ago.
A top ally of Governor Ben Ayade of the PDP said Senator John Owan-Enoh of the APC drew first blood while a senior campaign officer in Mr. Owan-Enoh’s camp said the community had risen up against Mr. Ayade for arresting their sons a few days to the postponed polls in a bid to rig the elections in his favor.
Meanwhile, independent findings by CrossRiverWatch revealed that the security personnel brought by the PDP members shot dead several of the APC members after they allegedly fired into the premises.
Efforts were made to evacuate some of the wounded with members of both parties seeking out their rivals to butcher. One, alleged to have shot dead the PDP ward chairman, Mr. Ayuk Ogar is said to have been tracked to where he was receiving treatment and axed to death while another suspected APC faithful evacuated by a commissioner in Mr. Ayade’s government for treatment (the commissioner is said to have been unaware of his party’s affiliation) was later tracked and killed too be suspected supporters of the PDP.
A relative of the deceased ward chairman who is an appointee of Mr. Ayade’s administration and was sworn in earlier this year is said to be under pressure to call the shots for a reprisal.
Meanwhile, some nine persons have petitioned the Inspector General of Police, (IGP) Mohammed Adamu over the killing of Mr. Ayuk Ogar and three other PDP members.
The group consisting of Messrs. Agbor Mgbe, Osonwo-Ayi Ojong, Oru Agbor, Oru Amba Bity, Ayuk Emmon, Moses Ekure Eji, Manyo Ntue Etta, Ogar Obaji and Obi Ntue Etta, called on Mr. Adamu, the National Security Adviser and the Director General of Nigeria’s secret police, the SSS to save them from what it termed “sponsored insecurity across Etung Local Government.”
The DaliyPost reports that the group which accused the APC of turning their villages into killing fields, called for the arrest of one Mr. Agbor Mgbe whom it claimed led the attack to the venue of the peace meeting.
The group also alleged that the gang held the community “hostage” for, “the most part of 2018,” and engaged in “several forms of criminality – armed robbery, abductions and murders,” adding that: “Specifically, on the 4th of November 2018, four persons were gruesomely murdered, and several others maimed.”
Furthermore, the group claimed that the activities of the gang from February 12th, 2019 especially those of the 4th and 25th of November, 2018, “including the list of perpetrators and sponsors are all within the knowledge of the Divisional Police officers, Etung Area Command, Ikom and the Cross River State Police headquarters and the office of the IGP through the office of the Commander, Intelligence Response Team (IG-IRT), based on a petition written by the chiefs and community council chairman.”
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