- Essien Udim local government area of Akwa Ibom state has been taken over by the Nigerian Armed Forces
- A combined military operation is currently going on in the area following the killing of security operatives by unknown gunmen
- Residents have fled the area after they were warned by the military to leave the vicinity
A combined military operation has commenced to flush out criminal elements in Essien Udim local government area of Akwa Ibom state.
Nigeria's minister of Niger Delta affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio is from the local government area which has witnessed series of attacks on security operatives in recent times.
The area has been under siege by unknown criminal elements who have in the past few weeks, carried out coordinated attacks on southeast and south-south states.
The Nation reports that the military began the bombardment of suspected enemy hideouts in the area on Tuesday, April 6.
According to the report, drones and helicopters were also deployed as they flew at low levels to ensure proper surveillance of the area.
The military had on Monday, April 5 asked residents to vacate areas suspected to be used as camps by the criminals.
Staff and students of the Federal Polytechnic Ukana in Essien Udim located few metres from Akpabio’s residence were forced out of the school campus while the Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic in Ikot Ekpene was also shut.
The Army Public Relations Officer, 2 Brigade Nigerian Army, Akwa Ibom state, Captain Godfrey Abakpa confirmed the military operation.
“We can’t categorise them until they are apprehended and questioned to know their intention and who sent them.”
Last week, three police officers including, a Chief Superintendent of Police, were killed in an attack by gunmen while four policemen were declared missing.
Military vehicles were also set ablaze by the hoodlums in the area causing panic among residents.
Meanwhile, an official in Akwa Ibom state has revealed that women now go to farm with riffles to protect themselves from attacks by armed bandits.
Israel Idaisin, the Ini local government chairman made the disclosure while pleading for the immediate intervention of the federal government over the insecurity in the area.
According to him, members of the communities now move about with weapons due to the protracted Nkari boundary crisis.