By G9ija

Gangsters on Monday night burnt down a police station in Inen community, Oruk Anam Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, forcing residents to flee to safer places.

The community has continued to make headlines in recent days following violence allegedly perpetrated by rival cult groups – Iceland and Dbam confraternities.

About 60 people have reportedly lost their lives and hundreds displaced since the two cult groups engaged in a battle of supremacy eight months ago.

It was learnt that police posted to the station known as Inen Ekeffe police post fled in the wake of cult clashes in the community.

An eyewitness, Mfonobong Okorie, said the cultists numbering over 30 blocked the community road between Faith Tabernacle Church, Inen Ikot Etim, and the gate of Al Madal Construction Company where they allegedly snatched two motorcycles belonging to one Udeme Atanong.

“Residents who wanted to obtain food items from their homes and rush back to their settlement camps in neighbouring villages were trapped in the bush while the hoodlums molested and maimed anybody passing through the road,” Okoroe said.

According to him, the cultists regrouped after some hours and moved towards Inen Junction where they burnt down the police station at about 7pm.

He said the cultists had destroyed the home of a former councillor three days earlier.

“This police station is a rented property. It doesn’t belong to government but this night the cultists invaded the building and set it ablaze,” Okorie said.

One of the leaders of the community, Mr. Anyanime Umoren, condemned the killing and destruction of life and property by cultists in the area.

The Public Relations Officer of Inen Stakeholders’ Forum said they had written several letters to Governor Udom Emmanuel to restore peace in the community but they had not got any response from him.

Police Public Relations Officer, SP Odiko Mcdon, who confirmed the incident, said the police station was a dilapidated structure rented as an outstation office by the force.

According to him, the police closed down the office because of inadequate manpower.

Mcdon dismissed the incident as “an ordinary fire” that gutted an abandoned building in the area, saying everything should not be attributed to cultism.

Meanwhile, the state’s budget estimates for next year has been received and considered by the State Executive Council.

Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Ini Ememobong, made this known at the end of an enlarged State Executive Council meeting presided over by the governor.

Ememobong said that the policy thrust of the budget proposal focuses on improving the internally generated revenue (IGR) to avoid overdependence on the federation allocation.