By Izunna Okafor, Awka
The Anambra State Commissioner of Police, CP Echeng Echeng, has revealed what he believed was the reason why Unknown Gunmen attacked a team of officials from the Lagos Consulate of the United States of America and their police escorts (USA) in Anambra State.
CP Echeng disclosed this while fielding questions from newsmen at the Command’s Headquarters in Amawbia, during a press briefing on the attack.
It would be recalled that unidentified gunmen, at about 2.pm on Tuesday, laid an ambushment on the convoy of US consulate officials along Atani/Osamala Road in Ogbaru Local Government Area (LGA) of Anambra State, which left seven of the persons in the convoy dead, with two others missing.
Asked what could be the motive behind the attack on the consulates’ convoy, the Police Commissioner opined that it was because the gunmen sighted policemen in the convoy.
“As for the motive behind the attack, I want to say that the convoy was a target of opportunity, because they had already reached that place, and on their way back they run into blocks.
“They ran into blocks, and perhaps the hoodlums or the insurgents saw that they were with policemen. I want to say that was the immediate reason why the attack came on that convoy on that particular day,” he said
The Police Commissioner also revealed that the gunmen escaped through the near-by bushes when confronted by a joint team of Mobile Policemen and troops of the Nigerian Navy stationed in Onitsha, who immediately swooped on them when they received information about the attack at about 2:30.
While assuring that efforts and operations are on top gear now to arrest the fleeing assailant, CP Echeng explained that joint security forces, comprising police tactical teams from the Command, and troops of the Nigerian Army, as well as the Nigerian Navy, on Tuesday, raided a camp in Ogwuaniocha community of Ogbaru L.G.A., which was suspected to be the hideout of the gunmen.
He said, the security forces, however, discovered that the camp had been deserted; and therefore, consequently, razed it down.
He also added that two persons of interest have been so far arrested in connection with the case, and are currently assisting the police in the investigation.
The CP further revealed that the Command would not relent until the perpetrators of the heinous act are apprehended and brought to book; even as he urged the members of the public who have vital information that could lead to the arrest of the hoodlums to assist the police with it.
On the identities of the people killed during the attack, CP Echeng said four policemen from Squadron 23, Police Mobile Force, Lagos, who escorted the consulate officials were murdered, while three of the consulate officials were also murdered by the gunmen.
“Information from the USAID authority disclosed that five (5) of their staff and four policemen who were involved in the attack are: Jefferson Obayuwane (RTD DSS personnel), Sunday Prince Ubong, Ekene Nweke, Hassan Etila, Avwuvie Kaye Monday, Bukar A. Kabuiki (Police), Emmanuel Lukpata (Police), Friday Morgan (Police), and Adamu Andrew (police).”
While consoling the families of the deceased, the Commissioner also emphasized that was no USA citizen was amongst the casualties of the attack.