By Emmanuel Ayungbe & Chioma Onuegbu
Uyo—A Joint Task Force, JTF, informant was reportedly beheaded by suspected militants Sunday night, when the JTF raided the militants’ hideouts in Etim Ekpo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
It was gathered that there was an exchange of gunfire when JTF stormed the community to arrest a wanted militants’ leader known as Aboy Ikpor and his gang members, who led the Ikot Ekpene Prisons break that led to the escape of about 40 inmates.
A resident, Akpan Udotim, told newsmen, yesterday, that the militants ambushed the informant, who was reportedly dressed in a military camouflage, captured and beheaded him.
He said: “They ambushed the man dressed in military camouflage. They chopped off his head and later dumped his headless body at Urua Obo Inyang Market.”
The Assistant Director, Public Relations, 2 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Major Shuaib Umar, could not be reached, as he did not pick calls to his phone.
At press time, he had not responded to a text message sent to his phone.
However, Commander of the JTF team in charge of Etim Ekpo, Ukanafun, Oruk Anam, Ika and Ikot Abasi, Major Mohammed Hussain, who led the operation, confirmed the incident, but denied that the dead person was a soldier.
He said: “The dead person was just our informant and we gave him military camouflage to wear.
“They were three and we gave them military uniforms to wear so they can lead us to the militants’ camp to capture some of the suspects that escaped from Ikot Ekpene Prisons.
“But when he heard gunshots, out of fear he attempted to escape and I think bullets hit him.”
Meanwhile, three civilians, including a woman, were also killed by suspected cultists in Udianga Enem, Ikot Obioma and Uruk Ata II, all in Etim Ekpo Local Government Area.
It was also gathered that the cultists, who had been loyal to their deceased leader, Akaniyene Jumbo, alias Iso Akpafid, kidnapped a teacher at St. Joseph Primary School, Iwukem, Mr. Ekikeree Ukpekpe.
The teacher, who hails from Ikot Obioma village, was said to have been captured by the ‘Red Boys’ in his farm, after returning from his base in Ukanafun.
A source, who did not want his name in print, told Vanguard that Ukpekpe’s abductors are demanding N1 million from his family.
He said: “Such huge cash won’t be easy. The man and his wife are primary school teachers.
“Because of frequent crises in the community, the man had to evacuate his family to Ukanafun, but only to return temporarily to farm and was unlucky to be caught in his farmland by the hoodlums.”