The Nigerian Army on Wednesday confirmed that it carried out air strikes on some communities in the Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
The army explained that its combined ground team and air component conducted a clearance operation in Ntak Ikot Akpan in order to flush out miscreants and hoodlums who had acquired dangerous weapons.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig Gen Mohammed Yerima, said in a release obtained by SaharaReporters that the community was bombed because “in the past few weeks, the group has attacked various security agencies which resulted in the loss of lives and carting away of weapons. The last incident led to the killing of some policemen including a Chief Superintendent of Police.”
SaharaReporters had on Tuesday exclusively reported that military fighter aircraft, Nigerian Army and police personnel were engaging gunmen in the Essien Udim LGA, suspected to be operatives of the Eastern Security Network.
SaharaReporters had stated that there were ongoing gunshots and tension in the LGA as residents reported attack helicopters hovering round their locations in obvious search of the ESN operatives.
Residents had told SaharaReporters that the gunshots had led to tension in the LGA as some of them had not been able to go about their normal businesses since morning.
The army on Wednesday morning in its release confirmed SaharaReporters’ story, adding that the aerial bombardments were to flush out miscreants in the area.
The army spokesman said, “The general security situation in Akwa Ibom state has been very peaceful until recently when the security situation around Essien Udim Local Government Area of the State became tensed occasioned by activities of some hoodlums and criminal elements. The miscreants exploited various avenues to acquire weapons to perpetrate their heinous crimes. In the past few weeks, the group has attacked various security agencies which resulted in the loss of lives and carting away of weapons.
“The last incident led to the killing of some policemen, including a CSP. The hoodlums continued to terrorise law abiding citizens through extortions and infringement on their rights.
“Consequently, a combined team of Military and Security Agencies in the State conducted a clearance operation at Ntak Ikot Akpan in order to flush out the miscreants. The operation was successfully executed and resulted in the dislodgement of the criminals while fleeing hoodlums were neutralised by the Air Component.
“Normalcy has been restored in the area while the Police personnel have since assumed full control and carrying out normal duties. Members of the public are advised not to panic but to remain calm and continue to support the security agencies to further consolidate on the successes recorded so far.”