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Kidnappers on rampage in Calabar, abduct private university student, 6 others in one week


From Judex Okoro, Calabar

Palpable tension and fear have gripped Calabar residents as kidnappers have invaded the metropolis and abducted an undergraduate of Arthur Jarvis University and 6 others in the last one week.

This ugly incident is happening even as Operation Akpakwu, a state security outfit is said to be patrolling major streets of the metropolis. Governor Ben Ayade inaugurated Operation Akpakwu in December 2020 following a public outcry against incessant cases of kidnapping, robbery, gangsterism and cult clashes, which were threatening peace and economic activities in the state.

Since the inauguration of Operation Akpakwu, the residents have not witnessed kidnap cases for a long while as life was gradually returning to nightlife and other social activities.

However, the last week has witnessed an upsurge in kidnapping activities as hoodlums had stormed the waterways, schools and some major highways and whisked away innocent persons, maimed and allegedly collected ransom ranging from N200, 000 to N5m.

Daily sun checks revealed that have also been operating in some residential areas at 8-Miles, Ikot Ishie, Uwanse and Mbukpa axis and carted away household items and personal belongings worth several hundreds of thousands of naira.

Sources close to security operatives disclosed that one person, popularly known as Tunde, was kidnapped last week along Lemmna Road at daytime while on his way back to Akamkpa where he resides.

It was learnt that the kidnappers have called and demanded N5 million as ransom. Relatives and friends are said to be running around to see how they can mobilise funds to secure his release from the kidnappers’ den.

Security source further revealed that last weekend gunmen abducted five passengers travelling to Oron in Akwa Ibom on boat for a burial ceremony were kidnapped while the ladies were robbed.

The victims were still held hostage as at the time of filing this report while the females abandoned at one of the creeks have been rescued by the security operatives.

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Not relenting on their dastardly acts, gun-totting men invaded Arthur Jarvis University located at Akpabuyo on Tuesday night and kidnapped one of the students and injured others, who tried to resist them.

A witness, who simply gave his name as Ebong, said the students were coming from their night reading class before gunmen accosted and abducted one while others who ran for their life sustained various injuries.

Ebong said: “It is very unfortunate as the school has never witnessed this ugly incident before. It just happened like a flash and they whisked away one of us. We pray he comes back safely. We call on the management to beef up security.”

Reacting, the management of Arthur Jarvis University in a statement signed by the Acting Registrar, Mrs Ughas Ngozi, read in part: “The attention of the management of the institution has been drawn to the news of a security threat on campus.

“Please be informed that management is on top of and the security agencies are in control of the situation. All students and staff are please requested to remain calm and go about their normal duties. Kindly desist from circulating false information.”

Confirming the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer, Irene Ugbo, said the Commissioner of Police, Aminu Alhassan has drafted the anti-kidnapping, anti-cultism and the dragon units of the police to forestall law and order and secure the kidnapped victim.

She said investigations have commenced immediately to unravel the cause of the attack on the students of the university where one was whisked away by the abductors to an undisclosed location inside the forest on Tuesday night.

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