Three police personnel, including an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) assigned to the Cross River State Command’s Odukpani Divisional Police Station, have been freed from captors.
In accordance with the Commissioner of Police’s instructions, the operation was carried out by SP Awodi Abdulhameed’s Anti-Cultism and Kidnapping Squad (ACKS), and a service pistol was also found during the rescue.
Two individuals have been detained in relation to the kidnapping, but the officers suffered serious abuse.
On October 13, 2022, a killing took place at Ndon Owong in the Odukpani Local Government Area. Five of the 15 women who had been targeted for death by the village youths over claims that they were witches had previously been hacked to death.
According to a security source who requested anonymity, this was not the first time angry adolescents from the neighbourhood had taken hostages from police officers in the same neighbourhood.
He continued by saying that after the deaths of the five ladies, 10 people were exonerated, while the other five were buried in a shallow grave in the “evil forest.”
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He said: “It was on the strength of this information that the police swung into action and invited the village head. Our men from the division where the incident occurred went to deliver an invitation letter that the youths of the community held the three officers hostage.
“They formed a mob and disarmed an ASP with a service pistol, they started beating and cutting the trio with machetes thereby inflicting various degrees of injuries on them.
“It took the intervention of the Anti-Cultism and Kidnapping Squad to rescue the officers and also recovered the service pistol and arrested two suspects.
Among those arrested are: Etim Effiong 34, and Micheal Etim Udoh, 32- years old.
“They have made useful statements and we have already launched a manhunt for other fleeing suspects involved in the killing of the five women as well as those that held the three police officers hostage,” the source revealed.
When contacted on Tuesday, SP Irene Ugbo, the Police Public Relations Officer in Cross River State, verified the event and added that although they now only have two suspects in custody, they are making headway in catching other evading individuals.
Ugbo said: “Nobody can take the laws into their hands, our constitution does not recognise anything like witchcraft, if they had a case they should have taken the appropriate channel to address them not taken innocent lives in cold blood.
“Five persons were gruesomely murdered in cold blood and buried in a shallow grave inside the forest over what I described as unfounded allegations.
“It is barbaric, it is unacceptable and we will leave no stone unturned in ensuring they face the full weight of the law”.
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