Targeted attacks on security operatives, particularly police officers, continued in some parts of Nigeria last week leading to the death of, at least, 16 police officers.
A PREMIUM TIMES review of newspaper reports and official statements by public officials shows that the 16 officers were slain in attacks on four different police stations across the South-east and South-south regions of Nigeria. Both regions have in the past few weeks witnessed targeted attacks on security officials and facilities.
This newspaper had reported how 18 police officers were killed in separate attacks across Nigeria in the previous week.
The killings and destruction of police facilities started about a month ago and have since continued despite the arrests and killing of some suspects.
IPOB, an outlawed secessionist group, and its security network, ESN, has been blamed for most of the attacks but the group has denied any involvement.
However, not all the attacks on police facilities were successful as officials announced the killing of 11 suspected IPOB members during an attack on a police command in Orlu, Imo State, on Thursday.
PREMIUM TIMES highlights the reported cases of attacks on police facilities last week (May 2 to 8).
The Ebonyi Attack
At least one police officer was killed as suspected members of ESN in the early hours of Thursday invaded a police facility in Obiozara, Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
The attackers were said to have invaded the station at about 3 a.m., and set ablaze the office of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) and the administrative building.
This newspaper learnt that the main police station in the local government area was burnt down during #EndSARS protest, last year.
The facility that was attacked was used by the police as their temporary station.
Two officers in Anambra
Two police officers were killed during a gun attack on another police facility in Anambra State, Nigeria’s South-east, on Thursday.
The divisional police station in Obosi, Idemili North Local Government Area of the state, was razed by the gunmen during the attack which occurred in the early hours of the day.
The police spokesperson in the state, Tochukwu Ikenga, confirmed the attack to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
NAN reported that the attackers first razed the station before they raided the police quarters where they killed the two officers.
Mr Ikenga, a deputy superintendent of police, said the Commissioner of Police in the state, Chris Owolabi, dispatched a tactical team for on-the-spot assessment of the incident.
“The tactical team led by an Assistant Commissioner of Police was directed to have an on-the-spot assessment of the place.
“The team was equally told to possibly identify and apprehend the hoodlums that perpetrated the attack,” he said.
The police spokesperson said the bodies of the slain officers have been deposited at a nearby morgue.
He said the police had launched an investigation into the attack.
Failed Imo Attack
Suspected members of the ESN on Thursday attacked a police facility in Imo State. However, the attackers were repelled and 11 of them were killed, according to an official account.
Army spokesperson Mohammed Yerima said the gunmen attacked the police area command in Orlu, Imo State, Thursday night.
They were repelled by the police officers present who were then joined by soldiers and other security operatives.
Mr Yerima said no security operative was killed in the attack while 11 of the gunmen were killed. He said seven vehicles and several arms and ammunition were also recovered from the attackers.
Seven officers slain in Rivers
The police in the state confirmed the attacks and reported that three police officers were killed in Elimgbu police station, while two others were killed at the divisional police headquarters in Rumuji.
Two other officers were killed at an attack on a security checkpoint along the East-West Road.
The police spokesperson in Rivers State, Nnamdi Omoni, said he would make details of the attacks available to reporters after a visit to the scene.
Six slain in Akwa-Ibom
A few hours after the Rivers attack, armed persons carried out a similar attack on a police facility in the neighbouring Akwa Ibom State.
Six police officers were said to have been killed in the Akwa Ibom attack which occurred in the early hours of Saturday at a local police station in Ini Local Government Area of the state.
The police spokesperson in the state, Odiko MacDon, confirmed the attack to PREMIUM TIMES, Saturday afternoon.
The gunmen razed a part of the police station.
“They (the gunmen) went to the police quarters where the police officers were sleeping and shot them dead,” a state government official said.
A security expert and former spokesperson of the Nigerian Army, Sani Usman, while commenting on the attacks urged governments to tackle the menace before it gets out of hand.
The retired brigadier general added that the attacks are not good for the security of the country.
“It is not good for the peace and security of this nation. Therefore, there is urgent need to evolve and implement strategies to stem it before it escalates beyond this,” he said.
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