- Gunmen kill 3 Policemen in Anambra, Ebonyi States, stations burnt
As the insecurity in South East region escalates, eight of the gunmen who invaded Orlu Divisional Police Headquarters, Imo State, were on Thursday night killed by a joint security team deployed in the area.
The joint security team, comprising the Nigeria Police, Army, and other para-military services, also recovered seven vehicles used by the gunmen to attack the Police headquarters.
In addition, the attackers burnt an Amoured Personnel Carrier (APC) at Umuna junction in Orlu town.
But a source said that the attackers were repelled and they did not succeed in burning any building in the Police divisional headquarters nor was any member of the security team killed in the attack.
The source noted that the gun battle between the security team and the ‘unknown gunmen’ lasted several hours with the military sending reinforcement from 34 Artillery Brigade, Obinze, near the Imo State capital, Owerri.
The exchange of fire created panic in the as people scampered for safety, hiding in their houses and leaving the roads deserted.
Though the full details of what transpired in Orlu are still sketchy, sources said that “the gunmen were overpowered by the awesome firepower of the security team. Yes, there was a report of stray bullet hitting some civilians. We will know the full details by Friday morning. For now, let us just say that the hoodlums met their match and their waterloo.”
The attack on Orlu divisional headquarters came as gunmen on Wednesday killed two Police Inspectors when they attacked the Obosi Police Station in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State.
The attack was launched around 11.30 pm, barely 24 hours after the newly appointed Commissioner of Police for the state, Christopher Adetokumbo Owolabi, resumed duty.
Credible sources said the two police inspectors were killed during a gun battle, while some AK47 rifles and a large quantity of ammunition were carted away.
Police officials called the masterminds of the latest attack in Anambra as “armed men”, but security experts closely monitoring recent happenings in the South fingered the Eastern Security Network (ESN), the militant arm of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
A source confided that the assailants had also freed all the suspected criminals locked in the cells at the Police station before setting the facility on fire.
“There was a serious gunfight between the invaders and the police operatives at the station that lasted for several minutes…The two inspectors that died during the gun duel were targeted inside a non-functional filling station close to the police station.
“They were firing shots in a move to repel the gunmen from entering the police station but were overpowered,” he said.
It was learnt that the attackers, armed with sophisticated weapons besieged the station in a convoy of about ten vehicles.
A security source who does not want to be named said: “They opened fire while approaching the station and sustained the onslaught to the extent that they subdued the officers on ground, set the place ablaze and also burnt one patrol vehicle.
“This is not the first time they are doing this and it appears the South East is now the new battleground and a killing field that is seamlessly degenerating into a no-man’s land.
“Miscreants are having a field day committing criminality and sadly, the governors and other prominent people are finding it difficult to call them out.
“The locals are also complicit in the terrible things happening in the South East…They don’t want to expose the criminals. Government must act fast because, by the time they finish with police stations, they would start attacking other security operatives,” he said.
Spokesman for the command, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, said the new police commissioner had dispatched a tactical team for an on the spot assessment of the incident.
“The tactical team led by an assistant commissioner of police was equally told to identify and apprehend the hoodlums that perpetrated the attack,” he said.
Ikenga, who said that the bodies of the deceased policemen have been deposited at a nearby morgue, said investigations into the matter had begun.
Another policeman was killed when gunmen in the early hours of Thursday invaded Obiozara Police Station in Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
The gunmen, who drove in a similar manner as their partners in crime in Anambra invaded the station around 3 am and set the office of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) and the admin building on fire.
A source within the area said that the main police station at the LGA was burnt down during the #EndSARS protest, forcing the officers and men of the division to be using a temporary shelter which was also burnt yesterday.
Ebonyi State Police spokesman, Loveth Odah, confirmed the attack saying the gunmen invaded the station in large numbers.
Also, there has not any word on the students of Abia State University, Uturu, who were abducted by gunmen on Wednesday night.
The students were taken hostage while travelling in a bus along Okigwe-Uturu Road.