Defence & Security

Anxiety mounts in southeast as gunmen attack police station, registration center.

• Police kills deadly gunman, recovers rifle, others in Anambra
• INEC suspends voters’ registration as Gunmen kill official in Imo

By Paul Michael and Blessing Oziwo

There is tension and anxiety in the southeastern part of the country as gunmen suspected to be members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Eastern Security Network (ESN) are currently on rampage attacking public facilities and officials.

Operatives of the Anambra State Police Command in the wee hours of Thursday foiled an attack on the Nteje Divisional Headquarters, Oyi Local Government Area by hoodlums and killed one of the deadly gunmen as others fled the scene.

During the operation, one type 06 rifle, one magazine and fifty-three live ammunitions of 5.56mm as well as charms were recovered by the operatives, The Trumpet gathered.

The State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Ikenga Tochukwu, confirmed the attack on Thursday in a statement obtained by The Trumpet.

He said the state Commissioner of Police, CP Echeng Echeng, led the crack squad while responding to a distress call on the attack of the station by the deadly gang.

He said, “Anambra Police Operatives led by CP Echeng Echeng on 14/4/2022 at about 3 am foiled an attack by gunmen at Nteje Divisional headquarters Oyi LGA. The Operatives recover one type O6 rifle, one magazine and fifty-three live ammunition of 5.56mm and charms.

“The Commissioner of Police CP Echeng, led the crack squad when responding to the distress call as the station came under attack by the deadly gang. The Police Operatives decisively dealt with the assailants.

“During the gun duel, one of the gunmen was neutralised and due to the superior fire of the Police Operatives made the assailants fled the scene. The station was secured and all police operatives and arms are intact.

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“The CP while reiterating that the Command will not relent in delivering on its mandate on protection of life and properties, commended the Officers and Men of the Command for their perseverance and painstaking efforts to weed out all criminal elements in the State.”

Meanwhile, gunmen on Thursday attacked a voters registration center of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Imo State and killed one of the officials.

Two other staff involved in the attack during the registration exercise at the polling unit are also said to be missing. INEC said it was making efforts to locate their whereabouts.

Following the attack, which lasted for several minutes, INEC suspended the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise in Isinweke, the headquarters of the Ihitte/Uboma Local Government Area of the state, where the ugly incidence happened.

It was learnt that INEC Adhoc Staff were registering members of the community for the 2023 general elections when the gunmen stormed the venue and launched the attack.

INEC National Commissioner, Festus Okoye, who announced the voter’s registration suspension in the council, said the decision was taken following the attack on INEC and its officials, which left one dead.

According to Okoye, the staff, Mr Nwokorie Anthony, was shot dead at Nkwo Ihitte (PU 004) in Amakohia Ward (RA 02) of Ihitte Uboma Local Government Area.

“Prior to this incident, the Commission had suspended the CVR in Orsu and Njaba Local Government areas of the State on account of insecurity while the exercise is taking place only at the INEC LGA office in Oru East, Oru West, Orlu and Ohaji – Egbema Local Government Areas of the State,” Mr Okoye said.

He added that “The Commission extends its condolences to the family of Nwokorie Anthony and prays that God will grant them the fortitude to bear the loss. The incident has been reported to security agencies to unravel the circumstances that led to this unfortunate incident and bring the culprits to justice.

“We enjoin the President General of the various Town Unions in Imo State as well as all the critical stakeholders to protect staff of the Commission engaged in national assignment. The safety and security of staff is of paramount importance to the Commission, particularly with the devolution of the voter registration exercise beyond our State and Local Government Area offices nation in our determination to serve Nigerians better.”

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