Suspected cultists raze police outstation in Akwa Ibom
Suspected cultists belonging to Debam and Iceland confraternities allegedly burnt down a police outstation in Inen community, Oruk Anam Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State.
The cultists who have been terrorizing the area for the past eight months were said to have burnt down the outpost at Inen Junction on Monday night, forcing residents to flee their homes.
It was gathered that the policemen posted to the station known as Inen Ekeffe Police Post had deserted their duty post in the wake of cult related violence and reprisal attacks in the area.
Daily Trust gathered that when the outstation was functional, the cultists always overpowered the policemen posted to man it, killing and maiming rival gang members as well as innocent citizens.
A witness, Mrs Mfonobong Okorie, said over 30 cultists barricaded the community road between Faith Tabernacle Church, Inen Ikot Etim and the gate of Al Madal Construction Company and snatched two motorcycles belonging to one Udeme Atanong and Ndifreke Otu respectively.
Okorie stated that after some hours, the cultists regrouped and moved towards Inen Junction where they burnt down the police post at about 7pm amid chants of war songs.
She said the burnt police post was the second house burnt down in the area within three days, after the cultists destroyed a former councillor’s house.
“Over 30 cultists barricaded the community road between Faith Tabernacle Church, Inen Ikot Etim and the gate of Al Madal Construction Company, where they snatched two motorcycles belonging to one Udeme Atanong and Ndifreke Otu.
“After some hours, the cultists regrouped and moved towards Inen Junction where they burnt down the police post at about 7pm chanting war songs.
“Residents who wanted to visit their houses to obtain food items and rush back to their settlement camps in neighbouring villages were trapped in the bush while the hoodlums molested and maimed anybody passing by.
“This police station was a rented property. It doesn’t belong to government but this night the cultists invaded the building and set it ablaze,” she added.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, SP Odiko Mcdon confirmed the incident but insisted that the building was a dilapidated structure rented as an outstation of the Nigerian Police.
He dismissed the incident as an ordinary fire that gutted an abandoned building in the area, saying everything should not be attributed to cultism.
“The building is a dilapidated one that was previously owned by police as an outstation office for our personnel but later shutdown because of inadequate manpower in the force.
“How do you know that the fire was ignited by cultists? Everything there may not be cultism,” he said.