From Judex Okoro, Calabar
Tragedy struck Calabar metropolis Thursday morning as hoodlums killed four police officers, stealing two of their rifles.
The incident occurred along Akai Effa-Idundu Road in Calabar Municipality at around 2:00 am.
A witness identified as Okon Asuquo, who resides in the Akai Effa community, said: ‘We heard sporadic gunshots between 1:00 am and 2:00 am and later movements of okada [public transport motorcycle]. We were surprised because for quite a while the area has been calm.
‘Then I woke up and tried to call some neighbours who also confirmed that there was a shootout. So we waited till 5:00 am and we strolled to the road side where we heard the gunshots and then saw four policemen lying dead with bullet wounds at various parts of their body and two rifles on the ground.
‘When I further made enquiries from a neigbhour who leaves by the road side, he said hoodlums struck the police check point and killed the police men on duty.’
The witness said he suspects the violence was the handiwork of the kidnappers that ‘Operation Akpakwu’, the state security outfit, have haunting for.
He said the residents now live in fear as they do not know how the police would react to the murders.
Confirming the incident, police spokeswoman DSP Irene Ugbo said: ‘It is quite unfortunate and we feel really sad and are in a mourning mood about the death of the four officers who lost their lives .
‘We are investigating the matter and will surely root out the culprits; no matter how far they run or hide, we must get them, that I can assure you.’
In a related development, Operation Akpakwu has arrested five suspected robbers who have been terrorising Ikot Ene community in Akpabuyo local government.
Sources close to Operation Akpakwu base revealed that the five-man gang were nabbed at around 11:00 am Thursday when they got a distress call that some hoodlums were operating in one of the youth leader’s house.
Operation Akpakwu had responded immediately and arrested the suspects while trying to escape.
It was learned that one of the suspects had, during an operation Wednesday morning at Ikot Ene, killed the wife of one Bassed Edem, who was going to early morning market.
Edem, in a chat in Calabar, said: ‘My wife went for her normal early morning market. And on her way, the hoodlums attacked her and disposed her of cash and later shot her dead.
He said witnesses revealed that his wife tried to struggle with them and in anger one of them shot her on the right chest.
Her corpse has been deposited at the mortuary in Akpabuyo, the husband said.