gunmen Anambra

By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo

FEAR has gripped residents of Mkpat Enin local government area of Akwa Ibom State and its environs following the kidnapping of one Rev. Fr.  Alphonsus Uboh of St. Pius X Parish IkotAbasiAkpan village on Sunday night.

Reliable Church sources revealed that the incident happened when the Catholic priest had gone to bed that Sunday night.

A Catholic faithful who spoke to Vanguard in confidence on Monday said the hoodlums invaded the Church located along Ekparakwa- Etinan road in motorcycle convoy, took away  the money realised from the launching of Church project on that Sunday and also abducted the priest.

Our source who expressed concern over the incident simply added: “I learnt that the Church did launching to raise funds for a Church project and realized almost N5million.

“And when the armed men broke into the Priest’s residence, they took away the money realised from the launching and also took him (Fr. Uboh’s) along with them. I don’t know if the kidnappers have made contact with the family yet.

Rev. Fr. Uboh’s abduction is coming barely three weeks after the Founder of Solid Rock Kingdom Church, Apostle John Okoriko was  abducted by gunmen in the church premises at Ibekwe Akpan Nya in the same Mkpat Enin LGA.

The State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr.  Odiko MacDon, yesterday confirmed the abduction of the Catholic Priest, saying,” We have received that report from the area and we are working on it “

Meanwhile, it was gathered that the hoodlums also rob shop owners, civil servant, teachers, nurses and business operators in the communities almost on a daily basis.

Findings revealed that the communities mostly affected by the incessant armed robbery and abductions since last year included Ekparakwa, villages along Ekparakwa/Ikot Abasi road in OrukAnam local government area as well as Ikot Ebak, Ikot Akam, Ibekwe Akpan axis of Mkpat  Enin.

A youth leader who spoke to newsmen in confidence on Sunday, lamented that the area was no longer safe, noting that most residents especially in Ikot Akaam don’t sleep in their houses at night while some have fled their homes for fear of being attacked.

He disclosed that no fewer than 18 persons have so been abducted in the communities from November 2021 till date, including

 a Medical Doctor who was abducted in February 2022, inside a Theatre at gunpoint at Health Centre Ikot Ekpaw ; a neighboring village to Ekparakwa.

He also revealed that the hoodlums usually ambush and rob traders, market women and  motorists at gunpoint along Ekparakwa -Ikot Abasi road.

His words: “There is a deep pothole area after former Hapel company yard, before you get to the sharp bend to Ikot Ebak village, that is a very deadly zone  because that is where the gunmen hide to waylay their victims. And   many have been killed at the spot.

“One day a woman who deals on palm oil returned from market . Unknown to her , the gunmen had laid ambush on the diverted road. After She was robbed of the sum of N700,000 cash they still killed her”

Another Youth of the area who also spoke on ground of anonymity for  for fear of possible attack disclosed that after the founder of Solid Rock Kingdom Church Apostle John Okoriko was released, penultimate Friday, two persons were killed by the rampaging gunmen .

 “Even last week Wednesday , after Apostle Okoriko was released, the gunmen returned to the village and killed Okoriko’s friend and one of his relations in an early morning raid. The kidnappers have converted the bush in one of the primary schools to their hideout”, he disclosed

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