10 feared dead as militants, kidnappers clash in Cross River

A bloody clash between kidnappers and a
militant group known as the Bakassi Strike
Force (BSF), operating in the Bakassi
Peninsular of Cross River State, has claimed
about 10 lives.

Although the State Police Command denied
knowledge of the incident, the Department of
State Services (DSS), Cross River Command,
said it has arrested five kidnappers.

Leader of the BSF, Simply Benjamin, aka G1,
in a statement made available to newsmen in
Calabar, after the clash, said it carried out the
attack on the kidnappers to prove to the
general public that so many cases of
kidnapping and armed robbery blamed on
BSF were false.

He emphasised that all these pockets of
violence, including kidnappings and armed
robbery were perpetuated by a criminal
group led by one Jacob, now deceased.

Benjamin said: “Two members of the group,
who are also on the wanted list of the DSS,
the police and other security agencies are in
my custody.” The BSF boss said his group had
notice of plans by the kidnappers to carry out
“another terrible mission in Calabar, which I
knew if they succeed in the operation,
accusing fingers would have been pointed at
me and my group. So, we had to confront and
stop them.”

Top sources within the militants camp said,
“not less than 10 persons died in the clash-
one from our side and nine from their side.”

Benjamin, who is equally wanted by the
government had earlier raised an alarm that
there were some groups in the Anantigha
axis of Calabar South Local Council
terrorising residents of the area. He said he
intends to hand over the two suspected
kidnappers to government.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the
state, (PPRO), Irene Ugbo, said the police was
not aware of the clash, but will certainly
investigate the matter.”

The DSS in a briefing with newsmen
described the BSF as a deadly group, adding
that five kidnappers were recently arrested
in the state. The State Director of DSS, Fubara
Duke, said the kidnappers have made useful
information and some have been charged to
court as investigations are ongoing. 

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