Gunmen in Inen Ikot Esse village, Oruk Anam local government area, Akwa Ibom state have invaded a Church and fatally shot one member.
The victim, Elder Friday Ufenang, said to be the secretary of his church (name withheld) was shot during the attack and is in critical state in hospital.
It was gathered that on Sunday, the gunmen alleged to be cultists stormed the church premises at about 7:05 am and went straight to the vestry where church officers were praying before the commencement of service.
A witness, Mr Sunday Ibanga told our correspondent on Tuesday in Uyo that the elder was accosted and shot severally in the head, and afterwards was left to die.
The shooting forced other members to flee for safety, while some had to lay low as the assailants continued to shoot.
Narrating the incident, Ibanga said the new pastor posted to the church to assume duty that Sunday was the one who evacuated the victim to the hospital for treatment.
At the hospital, the wife of the victim identified as Mrs Iniobong Ufenang said the victim left for church early in the morning to attend to his duties, and left her and the children at home.
She said while preparing to join her husband in the church, she heard screams outside their compound from people who informed her that her husband has been shot.
She said the incident occurred during a negotiation between Debam and Iceland rival cult confraternities to end protracted hostilities that has disrupted normal activities in the community.
“When I heard that my husband has been shot, I summoned courage and rushed to the church to carry the corpse for burial. There, I met some policemen who helped me to carry my husband to the hospital for first aid before the main treatment began.
“Since yesterday my husband has been breathing through oxygen here in the emergency ward. We need money to pay for various tests before surgery to remove the bullets in his head.
“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 shot my husband,” she stated.
The Police Public Relations Officer, SP Odiko Mcdon confirmed the incident, saying that the perpetrators of the crime would soon be arrested and made to face the wrath of the law.
“I can confirm the incident in Inen Ikot Esse, Oruk Anam 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.