Tragedy struck at Afaha Market in Ibesikpo/Asuntan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State on Tuesday when a trader was strangled after being raped by suspected hoodlums.
It was learnt that the woman from Ogoja, Cross River State, had gone to the weekly Afaha market when the incident occurred at night.
The woman, popularly called ‘Mama Oliver’, was said to have gone outside the house to urinate when four-man hoodlums swooped on her and took turns to rape her.
The hoodlums thereafter strangled her for fear that she might recognise one or two them.
An eyewitness, said, “Mama Oliver said she was going to urinate. It was in the process that the hoodlums seized her. They had bouts of sex with her.
“It was believed that they strangled her because she could identify some of the criminals. They feared that she might expose them if they let her go.”
A friend of the deceased, Mrs. Eno Edet, told our correspondent that the death of Mama Oliver was shocking.
Pointing to Mama Oliver’s space in the market, Edet said, “I would never assume that anyone could be so callous as to kill an innocent woman just because of sex.
“We have refused to sell things. The death of Mama Oliver is painful. She and her other sisters usually come from Ogoja on Afaha Market days.
“You can see her space in the market with her wares. We are really sad.”
Another trader, Mr. Ekong Okon, said what happened in Afaha Market on Tuesday could be attributed to darkness.
He said, “Where the women slept was not far from where Mama Oliver went to urinate. If there was light, we would have seen the men.
“I think Mama Oliver knew some of these men. This could be the reason why they killed her. I still believe that if the place had been properly illuminated, the sad incident would have been averted.”
When we visited the market , the deceased’s corpse had already been taken to a mortuary in Ibesikpo/Asutan LGA.
All attempts to speak with Mama Oliver’s sisters were unsuccessful. One of them was said to have left for Ogoja while the whereabouts of the second were not known.
The state Command’s spokesperson, Mr. Etim Dickson, neither responded to text messages sent to his phone nor picked his calls.