No fewer than 5000 persons are said to have been displaced in Essien Udim local government area of Akwa Ibom state as a result of the insecurity situation and the Joint military operation conducted on Tuesday to flush out the criminal elements camped in the area.
Chairman of Essien Udim Council, Mr Anthony Luke said the displaced persons are from twelve (12) communities of the local government area.
The chairman in a statement on Thursday, disclosed that the displaced persons from those villages are currently taking refuge at three places in Ikot Ekpene local government area, namely St Ann Catholic Cathedral, Ikot Ekpene, the Civic Centre Atan, Ikot Okoro and St Brigid Parish, Urua Akpan.
“In the past few weeks, a dangerous criminal gang launched attacks on various security facilities which led to the loss of lives of security personnel in the area. Their activities such as extortion, intimidation, robbery, and abuse of fundamental human rights of the people degenerated to a point that people were living in fear.
“The nefarious activities of these hoodlums have caused the displacement of our people who fled their homes for safety as lives and property were no longer safe”, he said.
“Again, the military operations also sent shivers through the spines of the people, who for fear of being caught up in the cross-fires, are displaced. We have about 5000 of them that have been displaced.
”I have visited the displaced persons to encourage them, give them hope and assure them that they will be catered for. We sympathize with them over what has befallen them, especially this planting season as our people are predominantly farmers. It is unfortunate”, he added.