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Four Killed As Police, Community Clash Over Celebration



Four people from Okon in Eket Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, were killed on Wednesday during the town’s annual celebration.
It was learnt that as the people of Okon were celebrating their day, they blocked the Eket-Uyo Road. An attempt by the state security outfit, Operation Thunder, to disperse the crowd led to the tragedy.

It was leant that the youths did not like the security operatives’ attempt to disperse them, and as such, resisted the task force insistence for them to leave the road.
A resident, Mr. David Okon, said, “The police came to the scene where Okon people were observing their national day. When the people resisted their intrusion, the police opened fire into the crowd.

“Four of our men were struck by the police bullets; two died instantly while the remaining two, who were taken to the hospital, died on the way.
“This is a tragedy for our people. There are many in the hospital who have also sustained serious injuries. We are not happy with the police.”

It was gathered that the aggrieved youths marched to Eket Police Station to burn it down, but their attempt was quashed as the police from other divisions joined hands to protect the station.
An indigene of Eket, Miss Elizabeth Edoho, told our correspondent that many of the protesters further sustained injuries as they tried to escape from the scene.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Etim Dickson, confirmed the incident.

He said none of the victims died from the police bullets. He added that the two persons, who died instantly, were killed by Okon people who inflicted machete cuts on them.

He said, “The Okon people were having their usual Okon Day. They cut some people with machete during the wild celebration.

“The police went to disperse the people and they subsequently barricaded Eket-Uyo Road. “From the two corpses the people brought to the police station, it was discovered that they died of machete injury and not by the police bullets.”

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