Judex Okoro, Calabar
Four Chinese nationals have reportedly been kidnapped and a police officer killed by hoodlums in Cross River.
The foreigners said to have been whisked away include Kan Jinxi, Hujinchang, Jiang Jijun and Cheng Qing, while the officer, Sgt Ifere Sampson, a guard attached to them, lost his life in a gun duel.
The news comes barely two months after the government had declared war against kidnapping and cult gangs by destroying some houses belonging to alleged cult gangsters.
But in spite of the on-going war, one Mrs Ekwele Agube, the wife of Hon Justice Ignatius Agube of the Appeal Court, was kidnapped from her shop at Ekorinim in Calabar Municipality on July 2 and was released after millions of naira was paid as ransom.
Her Personal Assistant, Glory Akpama, who was with her at the time of the incident, was shot and killed.
The Chinese nationals kidnapped in the latest abduction incident were reportedly taken at their granite construction site located at Oban community in Akampka Local Government Area about 7:00 pm yesterday night and were whisked away to an unknown destination.
It was learnt that the gunmen numbering about eight stormed the company premises with three tinted cars including an Audi and a Camry, and on arrival opened fire on the officer, who replied but was later overpowered by the gunmen.
Sources close to the company said the kidnappers are yet to call to demand the expected ransom, adding that most of the foreigners doing business within Akamkpa have gone into hiding since the incident.
Workers at the site who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity said for quite some time criminals have been terrorising the area and companies operating within that axis have been paying what they call a ‘toll’ to the hoodlums.
The workers regretted that even as the companies pay all sorts of levies, operational fees, landing fees and tax running into several millions of naira to the state government, the latter has failed to provide security for them.
Reacting, police spokeswoman DSP Irene Ugbo said it was true that a police officer was killed during the unfortunate incident and assured that the police was on top of the situation.
She said: ‘As I speak with you, the Deputy Commissioner of Police and some team of officers are on their way to the area and I will give you more details.
‘I cannot really tell you much about the details of the unfortunate incident but as they conduct preliminary investigations I will give you extra details,’ she said.