Joint Task Force (JTF), a special security outfit comprising soldiers, the police, and other armed security agencies in Akwa Ibom State has neutralized a dreaded militants’ leader, Otobong Moses, who is alleged to have kidnapped and killed more than 28 people in Etim Ekpo and Ukanafun Local Government Areas of the state.
Our correspondent gathered from military sources in the area that the operation that brought down Otobong Moses, the leader of Iceland Confraternity was not an easy one on Wednesday night.
Before the fatal shots that snuffed life out of the notorious terrorists’ leader, local sources say, their peaceful night rest was ruptured by heavy shoot out from both sides of the battle.
It was equally gathered that the notorious cult leader who is also known as Otoabasi, met his waterloo during the fierce exchange of gun fire with the JTF.
The intense war lasted for two days. Troops of 2 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Ibagwa in Abak Local Government Area gave the fight the much needed bite to rout the deviant.
Those who claimed to know better say the fallen terror king, killed over 25 people in Etim Ekpo and neighbouring Ukanafun Local Government Areas. He was shot dead during raid of his ‘palace’ in Obon Ebot village in Etim Ekpo.
The Assistant Director of Army Public Relations with the 2 Brigade, Captain Samuel Akari, said two of his gang members were captured alive, adding that two kidnapped victims were also rescued with assorted ammunition recovered at the end of the operations.
He listed the items to include assorted charms, sub-machine guns, magazines, 67 rounds of 9mm ammunition, two motorcycles, 16 mobile phones, one AK-47 rifle, magazine with 30 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition and 9 machetes.
Besides, two military monkey jackets, one helmet strapped with military camouflage, one military Police beret, one Police camouflage face cap, one military-pull over, ATM cards, two TV sets, a standing fan, decoder and four generating sets were recovered.
Akari, who explained that the operations were In line with the operational directive of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and Akwa Ibom government to rid criminal elements in the state, warned that no stone would be left unturned in restoring peace in troubled areas of the state ahead of the elections.
His words: “The raid operation was as a result of sustained surveillance of the activities of the notorious kingpin and his syndicate.
“The first phase of the operations was conducted on May 12, and during the operation, troops raided the criminal hideout, but on sighting the troops, the criminals abandoned their hideout and fled.
“The gallant troops rescued the kidnapped victims and arrested other collaborators and set ablaze the shrine, the hideout and assorted charms.
“Further investigation revealed that the criminal gang is known for terrorizing the locals, kidnapping them for ransom, killing and burying others who could not pay the ransom in shallow graves.”
Meanwhile jubilation by the locals continued Thursday in Etim Ekpo, over the killing of the cult leader, who, according to them had usurped the powers of several village heads in Etim Ekpo, especially Obong clan.
“He used to hold court and administer judgment of people in his palace. If a husband errs, according to his ruling, you will be flogged by your wife and fine imposed on you. If you are not able to pay the fine, your property would be seized. It is a big relief for us in Obon Ebot village because the village can no longer preside over cases”, Imaobong Akpan, a local resident told newsmen.
“He was in the habit of raping people with his gang members and most of his activities were encourage by our local politicians her, who used him against political opponents in election season like this,” Eteudobong Inyang, one of the jubilant locals said.
A village head, who would not want his name in print, lamented that “I have been chased away from my palace several times by these gangsters’.
“They would stop harvesting of the village palm trees for a year. After that Oto will order his gang members to harvest them and sold to village women with all the proceeds seized”, he lamented and urged governor Udom Emmanuel, to ensure the dreaded confraternities in the state are completely outlawed.
However, governor Emmanuel had since 2019 placed ban on no fewer than 65 cult groups operating in the state and amnesty granted to several of them, who were willing to come out of the bush, renounced membership and dropped their arms for government’s sponsored vocational jobs.