A commercial bus driver attached with the Akwa Ibom Tansport Company (AKTC) lost his life while eight others sustained bullet wounds as dare devil robbers brought activity to a standstill in Akwa Ibom state.
The brazen operation suspected to have been carried out by members of the Iceland cult happened around 1.22pm on Wednesday at the Edem Akai end of the Iwukem-Etim Ekpo-Abak highway.
An eyewitness named Udoesen Philips, said the AKTC bus driver attempted to escape when the hoodlums, about six in number, opened fire on the vehicle at close range.
“They blocked the road and started robbing every vehicle. The AKTC bus ran into them. The driver was trying to escape when the militants started firing at close range.
“One woman and three other passengers were hit by bullets. The intensity of the pump-action rifle, AK-47 and other weapons, sparked fire and engulfed the bus with the driver.
“When I heard the gunshot, I escaped into Edem Akai Primary School on my motorcycle and watched the drama from afar. After robbing the passengers, they stopped an oncoming Toyota Camry, seized it from the owner and escaped with it.
“They took the untarred road through Udianga Enem into their base in Okoyo village, while others followed the stolen car with the motorcycles that they came with.”
Local reports have it that the robbers also robbed nearby shops as the owners took to their heels.
Officers of the Nigerian Police Force usually posted to the Ikot Nya section of the highway were nowhere to be seen as they piled into their van and fled for dear life.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Odiko Ogbeche, confirmed the incident, but said he had yet to be fully briefed by the Area Commander and the Etim Ekpo Divisional Police Officer.