Some gunmen have killed a retired policeman, Okon Nkanang, and two others at Ikot Udobong, Ikot Obioma and Edem Akai group of villages in the Etim Ekpo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
It was learnt on Thursday that the three men were killed when two rival cults – the Iceland (the Red) and Debam (the White) – engaged each other in a battle of supremacy.
Many other residents allegedly sustained varying degrees of injury during the gun battle.
A source said one of the victims, Akpan Inyang, was killed by the Iceland group in place of his brother who was alleged to be a member of the Debam group.
The motive for the killing of the retired policeman could not be ascertained.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Odiko Ogbeche, said he had heard of the incident, but it had not been confirmed officially.
“That information has not been given to me officially, but I’ve heard about it,” he said.
A community leader, Chief Inyang Umoh, now in exile in Iwukem village, lamented that the communities could go into extinction if not rescued from the grip of cult members, kidnappers and criminals.