BREAKING: Gunmen kill two police operatives, one other in South-east

Some gunmen have killed two police operatives in Akabo, a community in Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State, South-east Nigeria.
The incident happened on Tuesday morning, residents told PREMIUM TIMES.
One of the residents, who asked not to be named, told this newspaper that the hoodlums were driving along the road when they met some police operatives at a checkpoint and subsequently opened fire on them.

“They shot two policemen dead immediately. One villager who was close to the checkpoint was also killed,’ the resident said.

Another resident, Ifechukwu Opara, said the gunmen, after killing the victims, moved around villages in the community, shooting continually.

Mr Opara added that although they did not kill more persons apart from the two police operatives and the resident, the sporadic shootings frightened many villagers.
Video clips
A video clip, apparently recorded shortly after the attack, has been circulating on Facebook.

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In the clip, two police operatives were seen lying lifeless in the area. One of them was seen lying face down and lifeless along the road. The second operative was seen lying dead under a tree in the area.
The clip did not show the body of the resident killed during the attack.
Police speak
When contacted on Tuesday morning, the police spokesperson in Imo State, Henry Okoye, confirmed the development to PREMIUM TIMES.

Mr Okoye, an assistant superintendent of police, described the attack as “senseless, unwarranted and unprovoked act of violence.”
The police spokesperson said the operatives were attacked by the hoodlums, suspected to be members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its armed affiliate, Eastern Security Network.
“The police officers fought gallantly, but unfortunately, two of our personnel and a civilian were fatally hit,” he said.
He said the Commissioner of Police in the state, Aboki Danjuma, has mobilised a police tactical squad of the command in the community to track down the killers.
“As I am talking to you now, an intense operation is currently going on in Ikeduru Local Government Area with a view of apprehending the hoodlums responsible for the attack,” Mr Okoye said.
The spokesperson said the commissioner of police has equally set up “a high-powered investigating team” to probe the attack and killing.
He said the killing of the operatives was another “painful and stark reminder” of the sacrifices police officers make in their commitment to secure Nigerians.

Worsening insecurity
Like other states in Nigeria’s South-east, security has deteriorated in Imo State with frequent attacks by armed persons.
The attacks often target security agencies, government officials and facilities.
The Nigerian government has accused the outlawed IPOB of being responsible for the deadly attacks in the region. But the group has repeatedly denied their involvement in the attacks.
IPOB is a group leading agitation for an independent state of Biafra which it wants carved out from the south-east and some parts of the south-south Nigeria.
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