Three police officers have been shot dead by gunmen in Anambra State, Nigeria’s South-east.
The officers were attacked around 9 a.m. on Sunday and their operational vehicle set ablaze on the Ukaegbu /Ezeiweka Road in Onitsha, a commercial town in the state, according to a report by Punch newspaper.
The officers were on security checks on the road before the attack.
Two other officers were also injured in the attack which has been confirmed by the police spokesperson in the state, Ikenga Tochukwu, the paper said.
A video clip of the incident posted on Facebook showed a corpse lying in the middle of the road, while a police truck is engulfed by fire. The scene looked chaotic, with people running and shouting.
Punch quoted a resident who said there was suspicion the gunmen may be members of the pro-Biafra group, IPOB.
IPOB, an outlawed group, has been at the forefront of the agitation for an independent republic, Biafra, from Nigeria’s South-east.
The Igbos, the predominant nationalities in the South-east region, have long been complaining that they remained marginalised, economically and politically, in Nigeria, after the civil war in 1970.
The Biafra agitation has led to killings and destruction in the region, with gunmen frequently targeting police and other security agencies in deadly attacks.
The latest killing is happening about 10 days after President Muhammadu Buhari paid a surprise visit to Imo State, considered to be the hub of IPOB’s operations in the South-east.
After his visit, which was on the invitation of the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, Mr Buhari, in a rare reconciliatory tone, praised the Igbos for their “enterprising” spirit.
“There is no town you will visit in Nigeria without seeing the Igbos being in-charge of economic activities. The evidence is there for everyone to see, that Igbos are in charge of Nigeria’s economy.
“It is, therefore, unthinkable for me that any Igbo man would consider himself not to be a part of Nigeria,” the president had said in a thank you message to the people and government of Imo State.
… invade church, abduct two worshippers in Kogi
In a similar development, gunmen invaded a church in Kabba, Kogi, on Sunday, killed one person and abducted two worshippers.
The church located at Okedayo Area on Kabba-Okene Road was invaded at about 10.15a.m. as the day’s worship went underway.
Police’s spokesman in Kogi, William Aya, confirmed the incident.
He described the invasion as unfortunate, saying that the police would go after the perpetrators and ensure that they face justice.
Kayode Akanbi, a worshipper who was present when the gunmen arrived, said service was barely underway when the incident happened.
Mr Akanbi told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on phone that the gunmen, numbering six, were armed with guns and cutlasses and did not mask up.
“We were trying to commence the normal service.
“We just started the call to worship and I was interpreting the pastor’s message, when suddenly the gunmen entered from the main entrance and raised their guns.
“They shot sporadically and everybody started scampering to safety.