A former Chairman of Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area of southern Nigerian state of Akwa Ibom, Mr Usen Etim Ekene, a police corporal, and two kidnappers have died in a security operation to rescue Ekene.
Ekene was kidnapped at Nyara Enyin Ntonguno, a village in Ikot Ekpene three weeks ago by gunmen who demanded N50million ransom from his family before he could be freed.
According to a source, when the villagers uncovered the kidnappers’ den, they informed the police, who mobilised to free Ekene.
The Public Relations Officer of the State Police Command, DSP Etim Dickson, confirmed the incident in Uyo on Tuesday.
Dickson said that Ekene, a police corporal and two assailants died in the process.
He said that a member of the joint patrol team sustained serious injury.
Dickson said, “It is a big blow to the force. You see, these are some of the things we suffer during rescue operations. Rescuing people in a joint operation is not all that simple. The story is true.
“One of our police operatives died, and an officer from the joint patrol team sustained serious injury in the process. Two corpses of the kidnappers had been picked up.
“The kidnappers had the boldness to fire at the police first. The police shot back at them, killed their two colleagues.
“It was unfortunate that we were unable to rescue Ekene. But what I am not sure is whether Ekene died in the process of gun battle.
“What I am told is that Ekene was an old man. He was kidnapped for three weeks. Keeping him in that forest, the man might have developed some symptoms which might lead to his exhaustion.
“I understand from friends that they were demanding N50 million, which was too high. We got to know this through calls to some friends. The man died before he could be rushed to the hospital.”