Heavily armed men suspected to be Niger Delta militants on Monday invaded the Nigerian Customs Service Base in Oron, Akwa Ibom State, killing an officer and carting away 10 rifles.
The Police and residents of the area, who have since confirmed the incident, said the gunmen attacked the base at about 9pm.
The Nigerian Customs Marine Base is located at Esin Ufot, a fishing community in Oron Local Government Area.
A source, who requested his identity be protected, told PREMIUM TIMES that the area has come under consistent attacks by the hoodlums.
“The so-called militants attacked the Nigerian Customs Marine office in Oron and killed one officer, injured anther and went away with 10 rifles,” the source told PREMIUM TIMES. “That is the latest in the town now.”
Another source who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES lamented that the militants were becoming more daring by the day and have been wreaking havoc in many communities in the riverine area.
According to him, the militants have raided the police station, the Nigerian Immigrations Barracks and key fishing settlements in the area.
“The situation is becoming very critical nowadays as the militants now attack security operatives and local fishermen alike,” said the source.
“The other day, they ransacked a police station and later they attacked an Immigrations Base.
“From Oron waterway to Uta Ewa in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area, the militants have been robbing and killing people almost on a daily basis.
“The last time it happened here in Oron they invaded and over powered the marine police and carted away their arms while the policemen fled for their lives”.
The source insisted that the militants were better armed than the Nigerian Police, the Nigerian Customs Service and the Nigerian Immigrations Service.
According to him, the senator representing the area in the National Assembly would soon raise a motion of urgent national importance to draw attention to the menace.
In a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES, the Commissioner of Police in Akwa Ibom State, Gabriel Achong, confirmed the attack.
“Yes, it is true that militants attacked the Marine Base of the Nigerian Customs Service in Oron yesterday (Monday),” Mr. Achong said.
“It is also true that one Customs officer was killed and 10 rifles taken away by the militants.”
He said the Monday attack was an isolated case, denying there had been repeated attacks in the area.