Residents of Uyo metropolis and suburbs have been thrown into jubilation as operatives of Special Weapons And Tactics Squad (SWAT) Akwa Ibom Police Command gunned down a serial murderer and armed robber known as Malachi Uwem, as well as his other two gang members, in a gun battle on Thursday.
When the news of his death filtered into town, residents heaved a sigh of relief while others jubilated due to the havoc the gang has wreaked in the area in recent times.
One Jonah Akpan, a resident of Ibiono local council area of the state, narrated how the suspects terrorized the area, especially POS operators.
“If the guy just comes to your place and says, give me money and you want to argue with him, he will just kill you, collect the money and disappear,” Akpan said.
Also, an elderly woman who identified herself as Mfon Bassey only muttered, “at least we can sleep with our two eyes closed.”
According to a press statement issued by the command Public Relations Officer, SP Odiko Macdon on Friday, the suspects were trailed by the police tactical teams to their hideouts at Ikang in Akpabuyo Local Government Area Of Cross River State where they were engaged in a gun battle.
Recounting some of the nefarious activities of the gang members, the press statement read in parts: “in the last six months, the Residents of Use Ntuen, Okobo Ibiono and Ikot Ambang in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area, Itu and Ikot Ekpene Local Government Areas of Akwa Ibom State and part of Uyo have lived in palpable fear of a dreaded serial killer and armed robber, one Malachi Friday Uwem ‘m’, 24yrs old.
“The said Malachi and gang have killed over 15 persons and has left some of his victims permanently maimed, some presently in hospitals, while others are counting their losses from his barbaric robbery acts, which has led to the closing of many businesses, especially POS, in these places.
“It would be recalled that on 20/2/22, the notorious armed robber and serial killer robbed and shot one Miss Lovina Eze Chinwendu, a youth corper at Ikot Ambang and made away with her iPhone, ATM card and the sum of N7,000, she died last week at Enugu Teaching Hospital.
“Also, on 21/2/22, the suspect robbed and killed a lady teacher returning from school at Okobo Ibiono who had stopped over at a POS shop, this resulted in a protest by youths of the area who blocked the Uyo/Ikot Ekpene Expressway.
“Furthermore, on 5/3/22, one Mrs Idongesit Damson was shot and killed in her house at Okobo Ibiono by the suspect, he also shot one Wisdom, which also led to a protest and blockage of the Uyo/Ikot Ekpene Expressway. Several POS shops and filling stations have been robbed by the suspect and his gang at Okobo Ibiono, Itak axis and Uyo.
“Only recently, on Monday, 25th April, he shot and killed two young men on the grounds that the village couldn’t meet his demand of N20 million but were only able to raise N5 million.”
The statement added that the current Commissioner for Police, CP Andrew Amiegheme worried by such ugly development immediately gave a marching order for the arrest of the suspect and his gang.
“Immediately, on the assumption of duty as the 30th, Commissioner of Police, Akwa Ibom State, CP Andrew Amiengheme, vowed to spare no resources in ridding the state of criminal elements like Malachi and their gang members.
“Therefore, on the marching order and close supervision of the CP, today April 28th, 2022 at about 0300hrs, in a painstaking operation, Operatives of Special Weapons And Tactics Squad (SWAT) of the Command led by CSP Julian Igbudu, traced the hoodlums to their hideouts at Ikang in Akpabuyo Local Government Area Of Cross River State, the said Malachi Friday Uwem, his second in command Wisdom Sunday Akpan ‘m’, 31 years, Ndifreke Sunday Ebong ‘m’ 20yrs, and Annansia Umoh ‘m’ 33yrs resisted arrest and engaged the operatives in a gun duel, and in the ensuing milieu, three of the gang members were fatally injured while attempting to escape.”
The exhibits recovered from them included; one cut-to-size pump action gun, one locally-made pistol, a large number of cartridges, one gas head with resemblance to a gun, and assorted types of charms.
The Commissioner while commending the tactical teams warned hoodlums to steer clear from Akwa Ibom State as the command under his watch will continue to spare no resources in bringing perpetrators to book.
Akwa Ibom: Jubilation as police kill serial murderer, two gang members in gun duel