August 20, 2012 by Mudiaga Affe, Calabar
THREE months after the communal clash between Ntan Obu Ukpe community in Odukpani Local Government, Cross River State and its neighbouring Ikpanya in Ibiono Local Government, Akwa Ibom State, the whereabouts of four policemen deployed to quell the riot are still unknown.
There have been clashes between both communities over ownership of land and collection of royalties from the Fulani herdsmen allegedly brought by the Ikpanya community for cattle grazing at the flood plains of Ntan Obu Ukpe Island.
At midnight on May 23, Ikpanya people allegedly attacked the Ntan Obu Ukpe community, destroyed buildings, livestock, and beheaded the village head, Chief Mfom Asanya. They were also alleged to have abducted four policemen.
Although over 30 persons were reported to have lost their lives in the attack, investigations revealed that the village head was the target.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Osita Ezechukwu, said the case file of the matter had been transferred to the Akwa Ibom State Police Command including the suspects arrested.
Ezechukwu explained that after investigations, it was discovered that only the village head lost his life, but was silent on the missing police officers.
He, however, said investigations into their whereabouts were on as at the time the matter was transferred out of his command.
But efforts made to reach the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner of Police on Sunday, Mr. Umar Gwadebe, was not successful as he neither picked his calls nor replied to the text message sent to him.
But the state’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Etim Dickson, said the case had been transferred to the Zone Six Police Headquarters.
Dickson, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, said investigations were ongoing to find the police officers from MOPOL 11.
But a top police source, who would not want his riot mentioned, said the mobile policemen might have been killed.
He added that it was after a specific period that the police could declare them dead.
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