No fewer than nine persons were killed in Anambra State in different circumstances on Monday.
While two policemen and three others were killed during an attack on the Anambra Zonal Police Headquarters in Ukpo, Dunukfia Local Government Area of the state, four others were killed in cult-related violence.
The attack on the police headquarters happened around 4am.
A source said, “Some hoodlums invaded the zonal headquarters at Ukpo in the early hours of Monday, but our gallant men repelled the attack.
“In the process, the hoodlums killed two of our men, while our men gunned down three of their men, but they quickly carried their fallen men and zoomed off.
“One of their General Purpose Machine Guns was recovered by the police. The reasons behind the attack could not be immediately ascertained.
“Our men prevented them from gaining access to our armoury.”
The Police Public Relations Officer, Zone 13, Nkeiru Nwode, confirmed the incident in a statement.
She said, “Operatives of the Nigeria Police Force attached to the Zone 13 Headquarters, Ukpo, Anambra State, successfully repelled an attack on the zonal headquarters by criminal elements in the early hours of today (Monday).
“The attackers, who came in their numbers and shooting indiscriminately in order to gain access to the facility, were repelled by police personnel on duty, who showed profound gallantry in the face of the seemingly overwhelming attack.
“Following the inability of the attackers to have access to the facility, they cowardly threw petrol bombs and Improvised Explosive Devices on vehicles within the periphery of the headquarters.
“One of the criminal elements was neutralised during the exchange of gunfire between the police and the attackers, while many of the gang members escaped with gunshot injuries.”
Nwode added, “One L7A2 General-Purpose Machine Gun, 92 rounds of 7.62mm live ammunition, one locally-made smoke pistol and an axe were recovered by the police. Regrettably, two police operatives sustained gunshot injuries and are presently receiving treatment.
“The Commissioner of Police, Anambra State Police Command, Kuryas Monday, who is standing in for the Zonal Assistant Inspector General of Police, has commended the police operatives for putting up a strong resistance against the attackers.”
Nwode said the CP was personally leading a special operation aimed at tracing, identifying and arresting the perpetrators to bring them to justice, adding that proprietors of private and public, including unorthodox medical facilities in and around the state, should report anyone found seeking medical attention for bullet wounds and related injuries to the nearest police station.
Similarly, four persons were killed by gunmen in Awka, the state capital.
The Police Public Relations Officer for the command, Ikenga Tochukwu, while confirming the incident, said it was a cult clash.
He said five suspects had already been apprehended by the command, while the matter was under investigation
Tochukwu stated that those behind the dastardly act would not go unpunished, adding that the command would not fold its arms and allow miscreants to take over the state.
While one of the victims was shot and killed at the Unizik junction, the others were gunned down at different points in Ifite, Awka South Local Government Area of the state.
One of the victims was a fitness instructor in one of the gyms in the town and a councillor in the Anaocha Local Government Area of the state.
In Abia State, gunmen in the early hours of Monday set ablaze the Uzuakoli Police Station in the Bende Local Government Area of the state.
This comes a few days after the Abia State Government raised the alarm over plots by hoodlums to attack some key locations in the state.
The Commissioner for Information, John Kalu, stated, “Security agencies in the state have been fully mobilised and placed on high alert to thwart the planned attack and bring those concerned to justice swiftly.”
The government therefore advised members of the public to be extra vigilant and ensure that they were at home before the curfew hours of 8pm to 6am as well as monitor the activities of their neighbours.
A source said some detainees were released during the attack on the police station.
Efforts by journalists to reach the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, SP Geoffrey Ogbonna, and the state Commissioner of Police, Janet Agbede, for their comments proved abortive as of the time of filing this report.
When one of our correspondents visited the Abia State Police Headquarters, all police chiefs were being briefed about developments in the state and the briefing lasted some hours.
Enugu barricades Govt House to ward off attacks
Meanwhile, all roads leading to the Enugu State Government House, The Lion Building, have been barricaded for fear of possible attacks.
One of our correspondents, who visited the Government House on Monday, reported that the Independence Avenue that passes in front of the seat of power, Nza Street behind the house and other adjoining roads were barricaded with concrete pavements on which ‘traffic closed’ were boldly written and traffic diverted to other roads.
It was also observed that only vehicles going in and coming out of the Government House were allowed access.
Even the road leading to the governor’s lodge through Okpara Square was also barricaded, as the governor now passes through the Government House to access the lodge.
Security personnel at the Government House gate said the decision to barricade it was for security reasons.
“My brother, are not in the South-East? Have you not heard about the attacks on security formations and government infrastructure by gunmen? This was done to prevent possible attacks on the Government House. That is all,” a security source stated.
When contacted on telephone, the Commissioner for Information, Mr Chidi Aroh, confirmed that the blockade was for security reasons.
Aroh said, “The blocking of places around the Government House was in respect to the advice of security agencies based on the security information they have.”
When asked about the recent South-East security outfit codenamed Ebube Agu would be inaugurated in the state, Aroh said, “That issue will be better addressed by the South-East Governors’ secretariat. It is a zonal thing and not a state thing.”