The police in Akwa Ibom have rescued seven persons said to have been abducted by gunmen from a church in the state.
The kidnapped victims were abducted on August 17 at the Apostolic Faith Church, Nkekat community, Ukanafun Local Government Area of the state, where they were taking part in a vigil church service, the police spokesperson, Odiko MacDon, said on Monday at a media briefing.
The police said the rescue operation was carried out by its officers in “Operation Purge”.
One of the kidnappers was killed during a shoot-out with the police, Mr MacDon, a deputy superintendent of police, said.
The police spokesperson gave the names of the rescued victims as Utip Johnny Okpor, 48, Uduakobong Mbet Matthew, 16, and Ibong Dickson Ukowo, 52, all from Nkek village in Ukanafun.
Others are Sunday Alexander Ikiwoho, 50; Ekabom Udo Udo, 20; Comfort Hope Udo, 16, all from Nkek village in Ukanafun, and Eme Tom Udoh, 65, from Ikot Essien, still in Ukanafun.
Ukanafun and Etim Ekpo are two local government areas in Akwa Ibom that are worst hit by cult-related violence and killings.
Cult activities seem to have been on the increase in the areas, despite proscription of cult groups, imposition of curfew, and the elimination and arrest of several suspected cultists.
Before this latest rescue, the police a few days ago announced the rescue of nine persons, including an official of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), said to have been abducted by suspected kidnappers in Etim Ekpo and Ukanafun.