The coordinated attacks on police formations continued yesterday in Akwa Ibom State as gunmen again killed a policeman and set fire on two police stations.
THISDAY gathered that the gunmen in their numbers yesterday morning reportedly embarked on a mission to set ablaze the Police Area Command of in Etim Ekpo Local Government Area, as well as another police station in Ika LGA of the state.
However, a policeman, PC Edogi Bassey, attached to the Etim Ekpo Area Command was killed when the bandits stormed the station.
The gunmen, who were repelled, reportedly burnt down the multi-million Naira Godswill Akpabio Unity Hall in Essien Udim LGA of the state.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state police command, Mr. Odiko MacDon, confirmed the attack in a statement issued yesterday in Uyo, the state capital, saying the policemen repelled the hoodlums from causing serious damage.
He said: "At about 6:30 am today, (Wednesday) armed men, in their numbers, armed with AK-47 rifles and other dangerous weapons, in two vehicles, attacked the rented building housing the Etim Ekpo Area Command and Division.
"The undaunted and vigilant police officers on duty gallantly fought back, repelled them and averted the intended carnage. Unfortunately, a dedicated officer, one PC Edogi Bassey, paid the supreme price while a small portion of the building was touched.
"The gunmen who proceeded to Ika Police Division to perpetrate their nefarious activities were again successfully repelled leaving the station intact without loss of lives or arms." He explained that the worrisome trend was being addressed by the police hierarchy and required the cooperation and support of all residents of the state.
"The Commissioner of Police, CP Amiengheme Andrew, who is going round formations and divisions to ensure alertness and safety of officers, men and the people has called on law-abiding citizens to volunteer timely information that will enable the police to tackle the present security challenges," he said.
The killing of Bassey by the gunmen has brought to 22 the number of policemen who have lost their lives to gunmen in a series of coordinated attacks on police formations in Akwa Ibom State in the last six weeks.
The attacks had also seen several stations torched and patrol vehicles burnt in stations located in border councils of Essien Udim, Ika, Ikono, Ini, Abak and Etim Ekpo.
Worried by the level of insecurity in the state, the state government has banned the use of motorcycles from dusk to dawn in the troubled councils that constitute Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District of the state.
All the recent attacks on the police in the state have taken place in the senatorial district.
A statement issued by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, said the prohibition would cover all types of motorcycles without exception while security agencies have been directed to strictly enforce the directive.
"While regretting the inconvenience that this decision may cause law-abiding citizens, the decision is a product of considered reasoning, taken in the overall interest of the security of lives and property, which is the primary responsibility of any government," the statement said.