According to a report by TheCable, military sources have revealed that the bodies of five soldiers were dismembered by suspected cultists in Essien Udim LGA of Akwa Ibom state.
The soldiers were part of the joint operation Delta Safe deployed in the area.
In the past weeks, there has been a series of attacks by gunmen, especially on security personnel in the area.
As part of its efforts to curb the attacks, the military had sent in troops, but the attacks continued.
On Tuesday, however, the military returned with heavy force to comb the area.
Senior military officers who spoke with TheCable Wednesday said about 10 soldiers had gone missing, before the troops went back and “found five bodies from those missing”.
“The military had to storm the area, and this time, with air strikes when about 10 of our soldiers got kidnapped,” one of the sources said.
“We flushed the criminals out, and while ground troops were combing the area, we found bodies of our soldiers, dismembered. It was shocking. We put their bodies together.”
Another source added that they ensured “no civilian was killed in the operation”.
Mohammed Yerima, army spokesperson, in a statement, said the suspected criminals were neutralised in the air strikes.
“The miscreants exploited various avenues to acquire weapons to perpetrate their heinous crimes. In the past few weeks, the group has attacked various security agencies which resulted in the loss of lives and carting away of weapons. The last incident led to the killing of some Policemen including a CSP,” he said.
“The hoodlums continued to terrorise law abiding citizens through extortions and infringement on their rights.
“Consequently a combined team of Military and Security Agencies in the State conducted a clearance operation at Ntak Ikot Akpan to in order to flush out the miscreants.
“The operation was successfully executed and resulted in the dislodgement of the criminals while fleeing hoodlums were neutralised by the Air Component.”
As against reports that there is still crisis in the area, Yerima said normalcy has been restored while the police have assumed full control and carried out normal duties.
He asked members of the public not to panic but to remain calm and continue to support the security agencies.