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Army arrests 17 war mercenaries in A’Ibom

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Etim Ekpimah, Uyo

The Nigerian Army, 2 Brigade, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, has arrested 17 armed youths said to be war mercenaries.

The hoodlums, who were apprehended by soldiers during raids of their hideouts on Saturday, were said to be members of a sponsored gang that had been terrorising Ayadeghe community in Oku Iboku, in the Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.

Assistant Director, Public Relations, Brigade 2, Nigerian Army, Captain Shuaib Umar, said in Uyo on Sunday that the hoodlums were arrested with a pair of military camouflage uniform, a camouflage T-shirt, and a camouflage singlet.

Umar added that other items recovered from the suspected cultists were a cardigan, 10 GSM phones, a bag of charms, a bag of clothes, one wrap of Indian hemp, the sum of N29,700, two rizla, and three motorcycles.

“In line with their constitutional mandate of providing aid to the civil authority, the troops of 2 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Uyo, conducted a successful raid of identified armed cult members at Uku Iboku Itu bridge, boundary between Akwa Ibom and Cross River states.

“During the raid, a pair of military camouflage, a camouflage T shirt, camouflage singlet, a cardigan, 10 phones, a bag of charms, a bag of clothes, one wrap of hemp, the sum of N29,700, 2 Rizla and three motorcycles, were recovered from the cultists,” he said.

According to Umar, the Brigade’s Commander, Brigadier General Abdu Hassan, has vowed to eradicate killings of innocent Nigerians by war mercenaries.

He said the commander had assured all law abiding citizens in the area of its preparedness to protect them and ensure peaceful coexistence between Ikot Offiong and Ayadeghe in Oku Iboku.

Umar said all the suspected cult members would be handed over to the police once the Brigade 2 got the signal from the Army headquarters.

An indigene of the Ayadeghe, Dr Ekong Demson, observed that the soldiers on Saturday arrested seven more people.

He revealed that a younger brother of a council chairman in Cross River State was also arrested.

Our correspondent gathered that since the beginning of 2017, Ikot Offiong community had used the youths to launch not less than eight attacks on Ayadeghe community, resulting in the death of many residents.

The war mercenaries were also said to have destroyed houses, vehicles, boats, outboard engines, as well as an entire fishing community in Uruan LGA in Akwa Ibom.

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