Youths from Ikot Offiong in Cross River State have allegedly attacked Oku Iboku community in Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State and killed over 20 fishermen, women and young girls returning from farms on Friday evening.
It was learnt that Ikot Offiong youths attacked the community with a machine gun mounted on one of their speed boats, assault rifles and a hand grenade.
An indigene of the area, Dr. Demson Ekong, told journalists that some of the dead victims included a mother and her two children.
According to him, the corpses of nine fishermen, who fell into the sea after they were shot, were recovered on Saturday.
He added that more corpses were still being recovered on Sunday.
“We are still recovering the corpses, but as of yesterday, we recovered nine corpses, excluding those killed on Friday.
“They mounted a machine gun on one of their speed boats and shot sporadically at their targets. The soldiers who guard the border between Akwa Ibom and Cross River states, escaped for their lives.
“It was after some hours that they called for reinforcement and during the time of military reinforcement, the boys were still firing for over 30 minutes before they finally retreated.”
He added, “Apart from those they killed, they carried away seven persons alive to a fishing village near Ibom Meridien Golf Course and Hotel in Uruan LGA and burnt down the entire place.
“As they were burning the village, three of the boys they captured alive escaped, knowing that the armed youths had run out of the bullets.
“They escaped by diving into the river to a village still in Uruan, where they were shown the way back to Oku Iboku on a motorbike.”
One of the survivors, Joseph Michael, told our correspondent that they were diving for oysters when a group of armed young men from Ikot Offiong in Cross State tried to kill them.
Michael said, “We were still diving (for oysters), and a group of young men approached us and asked us to enter their speed boats, and we did because we were threatened.
“Then they started firing at Uruan fishermen who were close. And when we realised that their attention was on those men, we had to escape through the bush.”
The Police Public Relations Officer in Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Chukwu Ikechukwu, confirmed the incident but said the police was not aware of the casualty figures. He added that the police were investigating the matter.
He said, “The information we received is that Oku Iboku and Ikot Offiong communal clash has been there for sometimes.
“On Friday, being the 21st of this month, about 1320hrs, some armed youths from Ikot Offiong attacked some farmers and fishermen from Oku Iboku while returning farms and river.
“The armed youths came with speedboats mounted with a machine gun and began firing at them. We had yet to ascertain the casualty figure, but investigation has begun.”