From Judex Okoro, Calabar

There is tension in Cross River as gunmen attacked the convoy of (PRP) Cross River governorship candidate, Dr. Usani Uguru Usani, killing two and abducting four others along Calabar-Ikom federal highway.

This is coming barely two days after the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Prof. Mrs Gertrude Njar and Kenneth Abang, an aide to House of Representatives member were kidnapped.

Prof. Njar was kidnapped around Mayne Avenue-Atamunu axis in Calabar South early in morning on Wednesday, while Kenneth Abang was abducted penultimate Saturday.

Over the months, a gang of armed men has been on the rampage along the Calabar-Ikom federal highway terrorising travellers, kidnapping some and collecting ransom worth millions of naira; several others were shot while police have deployed detectives to man some sections of the road.

Investigations by Sunday Sun revealed that last week had witnessed a series of unreported attacks on passengers and motorists on Calabar-Ikom highway.

It was learnt that the latest attack was the most tragic with the killing of two travellers at Betem axis of the highway in Biase Local Government Area.

A witness said about 3:00pm, the gun men took over a section of the road not manned by security operatives and shot sporadically at the tires of vehicles.

The hoodlums were said to have divided themselves into two groups to ensure that their victims didn’t escape.

According to the witness, the gunmen ambushed a convoy coming from Calabar and immediately opened fire and killing two persons in the process, and whisking away four others.

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The gunmen also attacked the vehicle carrying the PRP governorship candiadte, Dr. Usani Usani, and riddled it with bullets, wounding one of the convoy drivers and injuring several others.

Usani was on his way to his home town in Nko, Yakurr alongside the deputy governorship candidate, other party members and supporters.

Confirming the incident, the Cross River State Commissioner of Police, Sule Balarabe, said: “A white Ford with registration number AAA 41 AQ was ambushed by hoodlums suspected to be kidnappers at about 3:45 pm around Betem axis of Ikom Calabar highway on Friday.

“They opened fire on the vehicle killing yet-to-be identified two persons and abducted three others.

“The vehicle in which they killed two persons had seven occupants including two police officers, ASP Ibor Bassey and Insp. Ebro Ebri, who escaped and called for reinforcement.

“A tactical unit was immediately dispatched to the area and three persons have so far been rescued including Barr Egbe Eworo, Arit Chelsea and Victor Akpan all members of PRP,” Balabare said.

“We are appealing to all community leaders, and chiefs, including traditional rulers, to help security agencies because these criminals are not spirits; they are human beings who live amongst them; without useful and timely information, it will be very difficult to nip these nefarious activities in the bud,” Balabare stated.

Media aide to PRP governorship candidate, Mr David Agabi, said: “We were attacked on our way out of Calabar.

“We were in a convoy; the gunmen started shooting at us around Betem in Biase LGA. My principal’s driver’s SUV was riddled with bullets; other members of our party in the convoy also suffered various degrees of injuries.”

Explaining that Dr Usani is good condition, he confirmed that three out of the four persons abducted had been released.