Judex Okoro, Calabar
A young man identified as Victor, has been burnt by angry mob at Abitu Avenue in Calabar South, Cross River for stealing fowls.
The victim was said to have been one of the hardened criminals living within the vicinity and have been terrorising the residents especially those who return late at night.
The tragic incident occurred about 5:00 am at Abitu Avenue-Ekpo Edem junction on Tuesday morning.
An eyewitness, Eyo Akpan, said the victim was in the habit of petty stealing and constantly harassing residents in the area and in the process had maimed some people.
Akpan said luck ran out on the young man when a vigilance group caught him running with a bag full of fowls suspected to have been stolen from a nearby poultry farm.
When confronted, Victor challenged them and brought out a machete and a big hammer to attack them. But the vigilante shouted for help and when other people arrived at the scene, the mobbed the suspect.
Akpan said: “The victim has been a notorious criminal and a leader of one of the gang that extorts money and collects illegal tickets. Besides, he had stolen items such car battery and radios, generators and livestock within the neighbourhood.
“Most times residents were afraid of confronting him. But we prayed that one day he would meet his Waterloo.
“Last year, he was caught by a group of boys coming back from fishing but the vigilante intervened and got him freed. Then he was warned to desist from his criminal activities.
“But he came as usual in the early hours of Tuesday to steal some fowls and on his way out of the street, the fowls started making noise which attracted some members of the vigilance team.
“Realising that some people were after him, he attempted to escape and even brought out a big hammer before he was rounded up by the youths who refused to let him go this time.
“For fearing that his gang could launch a counteroffensive to free him, they hurriedly beat him up and set him ablaze for stealing fowls,” Akpan stated.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Irene Ugbo, confirmed that she had been called by a resident informing him that somebody was lynched.
She said the DPO of Càlabar South had not briefed her officially and therefore cannot give details of the incident, regretting the recurrence of such a barbaric act.
Irene had, in a public enlightenment campaign, warned members of the public to desist from taking laws into their hands, advising them to always hand over suspects to the police for further investigation.
She said: “Though police do not support criminals and criminal activities in any way, it is high time we stopped this jungle justice which is against the law.”