By Tony Nyong
UYOâ€”NO FEWER than seven persons were kidnapped in Akwa Ibom State last week, four of whom were expatriate staff of Stemco Construction Company in Essien Udim Local Government Area of the state. An army corporal, a policeman and a civilian were killed in the raid which Vanguard gathered, was carried out at the construction site in which the expatriates were working.
Last week, unknown gunmen had also abducted the mother of one of the governorship aspirants in the state, Chief Ini Ekong Udonwa, after they shot several bullets at the marine engineer. Udonwa, who was shot in the leg after he attempted to escape from the kidnappers who were at his home, 30 minutes before his arrival, reportedly refused to part with the money he made from one of his recent transactions.
He was later rushed to an undisclosed hospital for treatment. Vanguard gathered that the abductors demanded N500m ransom for the elderly womanâ€™s release even as they had earlier collected N10 million from Hon. Udom who is the Chairman Coalition of PDP Aborigines. Stemcoâ€™s officials who were abducted included its general manager, site manager and two other employees, who were working at the site of a link-bridge before the unfortunate incident.
The kidnappers, who were said to be in disguise, stormed the construction site with three vehicles loaded with arms. The State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Walter Rugbere, who led a team of police men to the family house of a serving Commissioner confirmed the attack on the expatriates. Rugbere told Vanguard that one of the kidnappers was shot dead by the police while another was receiving treatment in an undisclosed hospital.
He explained that a lot of arms were recovered from the kidnappers, noting that the police had launched a manhunt for other fleeing members of the group.
Meanwhile, the State Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, yesterday, condemned the spate of kidnapping of innocent citizens in the state.
Akpabio who expressed concern about the abduction of the septuagenarian mother of Udonwa, warned politicians to desist from playing politics with peopleâ€™s lives and freedom.