There was palpable fear in Inen Ikot Esse village, OrukAnam local government area on Sunday as gunmen ransacked one of the penticostal churches triple-shot the church elder, while members scampered for safety.
Our correspondent gathered that about cultists stormed the church premises at exactly 7:05am and went straight to the vestry where church officers were praying before commencement of worship service and shot Elder Friday Ufenang repeatedly on the head.
An eyewitness, Mr Sunday Ibanga, said the elder was accosted and shot severally on the head leaving him in the pool of blood, causing other members to lie low as the assailants engaged in a shooting spree in the church premises.
Narrating the incident, Ibanga said it happened as the present of the new pastor posted to the church, assumed duty the same Sunday before he reached out to the church headquarters for vehicle to evaluate the victim to hospital for treatment.
Speaking at the hospital on Tuesday, the wife of the victim simply identified as Mrs Ufenang said the victim left for church that early morning to attend to his duties leaving her and the children at home to join him for the Sunday service later.
He said while preparing to join the victim in the church she heard a loud screaming outside their compound from people who came to inform that the husband has been shot in the church vestry during prayers.
“When I heard that my husband was shot, I summed up courage and rushed to the church just to carry the corpse for burial. But I met policemen helping me to carry my husband to hospital for first aid before the main treatment in this hospital.
“Since Sunday my husband is surviving through oxygen here in the emergency ward. we need money to pay for various tests before surgery to remove the bullets in his head.”
She said the incident occurred while there was negotiation between Debam and Iceland rival cult confraternities in the area to end protracted hostilities that has disrupted normal activities in the community.
“One volunteer told me that he had visited the camp of the two cult groups and they all denied their roles in the incident. So, I don’t know where the gunmen came from to shoot my husband” she said.
Confirming the incident Akwa Ibom Police Public Relations Officer, SP Odiko Mcdon said the perpetrators of the crime would soon be arrested to face the wrath of the law.
“I can confirm the incident in Inen Ikot Esse, OrukAnam local government area. It is unfortunate that such incident happened in the church premises. When it happened, it was the police that rushed the victim to hospital for treatment.”
“The Commissioner of Police, Andrew Amiengheme, condemns the dastardly act and he has resolved to stem the tide of cultism in whatever form. However, deep investigation is ongoing to ensure that the perpetrators of such dastardly act face the wrath of the law. I assure you that they would be brought to book in no distant time,” he said.
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