The reign of terror in the Southeast continued yesterday as gunmen killed four policemen in a dawn attack at the Iwollo Divisional Police Station in Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu State.
The station, vehicles, motorcycles and other property were burnt.
The assailants took away a police van.
In Owerri, the Imo State capital, stray bullets killed two women when security agents and gunmen exchanged gunfire following an attempt to burn a police station.
In Ebonyi, a policeman accidentally blew himself up after detonating a hand grenade.
Sources told our reporter that the hoodlums who attacked the police division Enugu came in numbers.
It was learnt that the slain officers’ arms were taken away; detained suspects were freed.
A villager said: “We couldn’t sleep as the gunshot persisted. We saw heavy smoke. The attackers were there for over 45 minutes.
“When we got to the station in the morning, I counted four bodies; the entire station was razed. Vehicles and motorcycles were destroyed.”
Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Aliyu, confirmed the killing of four policemen in the 4 am attack.
Aliyu, in a statement by the Command’s spokesman, Daniel Ndukwe, said the hoodlums, who arrived in numbers, opened fire on police operatives on duty.
He said several of the assailants escaped with bullet injuries.
“Unfortunately, four of the operatives, who sustained severe gunshot injuries, were later confirmed dead in the hospital, while parts of the station were set ablaze by the assailants,” he said.
Aliyu condoled with the families and friends of the slain officers, who he said paid the ultimate price in the line of duty.
He appealed to citizens to promptly volunteer useful information that would assist the command in the ongoing investigation.
He urged operators of medical facilities to promptly report to the police any person or persons found with gunshot injuries.
On April 21, gunmen shot two police operatives dead during an attack on Adani Police Station in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area. The station was also set ablaze.
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi ordered the immediate reconstruction of the razed police divisional headquarters.
Speaking when he visited the scene, he expressed sadness over the act.
The governor, who condoled with the families of the slain policemen, also requested to meet with the families of the deceased.
Ugwuanyi ordered the replacement of the Innoson patrol van and the construction of barricades at the police station.
Policeman detonates explosive in Ebonyi
A policeman on special assignment in Afikpo North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, Idi Aminu, died when he accidentally detonated a hand grenade.
The police said it was not a case of suicide bombing as speculated.
Spokesperson of the Command, Loveth Odah, said the incident occurred opposite the Amizi Amangbala Primary School in Afikpo North.
Odah said the inspector “mistakenly hit the lead of his grenade which was hanging on his waist with his elbow resulting in the deadly explosion”.
The officer, she said, was attached to MOPOL 32, adding that his remains were evacuated to a mortuary.
A community leader, Jasper Okoro, and other residents, however, said they believe it was a case of failed suicide bombing.
Governor David Umahi’s media aide, Francis Nwaze, also dismissed the suicide bombing claim.
“A similar incident occurred in front of the Ebonyi State Old Government House as some mobile police officers were servicing their ammunition.
“The general public is, therefore, urged to disregard the fake news as it is the handiwork of enemies of the state who are bent on causing panic where none exists,” he said.
Police kill two in Imo
Also yesterday, the police in Imo killed two suspected hoodlums that attacked the Command Headquarters and Correctional Centre in Owerri, the state capital, on April 5.
Police spokesman Bala Elkana said the suspects, Uchenna Elendu of Umukusu Ocha and Elu Osinachi of Umuobube Awara were killed in a gun duel at Ocha Community, Awara in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area.
According to him, the coordinated operation was carried out in response to the mandate given to the Commissioner of Police, Abutu Yaro, by the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali, to ensure that the hoodlums who attacked the assets were apprehended.
Elkana said the hoodlums engaged the police in a gun duel for about two hours.
“The two suspects were taken to hospital for medical examination. The doctor on duty confirmed Uchenna dead on arrival while Osinachi Elu who was in a coma was subsequently confirmed dead.
“One Ak47 rifle with breach number 11654 and a cache of live ammunition were recovered.
“Also recovered are a number of expanded ammunition, machetes and criminal charms tied around the waist of the suspects,” the spokesman said.
He said the operation will be sustained until all the perpetrators of the dastardly attack are brought to justice.
Stray bullet kill two women
There was tension as gunmen and security agents exchanged gunfire as hoodlums attempted to burn the Orji Divisional Police Headquarters on Owerri-Okigwe Road, which is under reconstruction.
Security operatives made up of soldiers, policemen and Air Force officers engaged the hoodlums in a shootout.
The situation forced two banks in the area to close.
Customers and passersby took to their heels; vehicles fled in different directions; some drivers and passengers abandoned their vehicles and ran for dear life.
The situation caused a heavy gridlock around the city.
Stray bullets hit and killed two women in their 60s near the scene.
One of the women, a widow, who sold pap (Akamu) and Akara at Haldel Bus stop, was hit in the head.
Her corpse lay on the floor as her relatives and neighbours wailed.
The other woman sold garri at Nkwo Orji market.
Eyewitnesses told our correspondent that the gunmen, numbering over 20, attacked the police station after blocking the expressway with their vehicles.
Elkana said security agents stopped the hoodlums from destroying the station.
Commissioner of Police, Abutu Yaro, led an enforcement team to the scene.
Five suspects – Chigaemezu Sabastine, 26, Casmir Ibe, 36, John Chinonso, 24, Chukwudi Okoro, 28 and Alozie Daberechi, 25, were arrested. Three vehicles were recovered from them.