Lawrence Nwimo, Awka
Anambra State Police Command in on Thursday said seven persons were murdered while two are still missing in the Tuesday’s attack on United States embassy officials in Anambra State.
Commissioner of Police, Echeng Echeng, who disclosed this in a press briefing, said two persons have been arrested in connection with the attack.
The deceased were killed by gunmen between Amiyi/Eke Ochuche communities in Ogbaru Local q0pGovernment Area of the State.
Echeng said the suspects were arrested during a raid of the hoodlums’ camp adding that they were assisting police in their investigations.
He added that the suspects’ contacts were traced through their phone conversation, while the command was gradually closing in on the killers.
According to CP, the deceased remains have all been recovered and deposited, while efforts were on to find and rescue the missing officials.
He said: “As you are probably aware, a team of officials from the Lagos Consulate of the United States of America and their police escorts (USA) were ambushed on 16/05/2023.
“Consequently, a joint team of Mobile Policemen and troops of the Nigerian Navy stationed in Onitsha was immediately deployed to the area. Upon arrival at the scene of the incident, the joint security team sighted and engaged the assailants in a shoot-out but they escaped through a nearby forest.
“Yesterday, 17/05/2023, joint security forces comprising police tactical teams from the command and troops of the Nigerian Army as well as the Nigerian Navy raided a camp in Ogwuaniocha community of Ogbaru LGA, which was suspected to be the hideout of the assailants, but discovered that it had been deserted.
“Two persons of interest were arrested and they currently assisting the police in the investigation. The criminal camp was razed down by the joint security team.”
Reacting to the level of cooperation the command has received from the US government since the incident, Echeng said the US embassy has been cooperative, and had also assisted the command with needed information on the officials and their mission to the state.
He however said the briefing was not time to apportion blames on whether or not the officials sought security clearance from the command before entrance into the state, stressing that the priority was to unmask the perpetrators.
The CP added: “The preliminary investigation conducted by the command, following the incident, revealed that five male officials of the USA consulate and four armed Mobile Police escorted from Lagos on a mission to assess the impact of erosion in Ogbaru LGA were travelling in a convoy of two vehicles when they suddenly came under attack by armed men who targeted them with gunfire and set their vehicles ablaze.”
The release by the CP further revealed the identity of the officials who were involved in the attack. They include; 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).
“Regrettably, seven persons (including three of the consulate officials and four Mobile Police escorts) were murdered during the attack while two other officials of the consulate are yet to be found.
“The deceased police officers include; Inspr. Bukar Adams, Inspr. Friday Morgan, Inspr. Adam Andrew and Inspr. Emmanuel Lupata all of Squadron 23, Police Mobile Force, Lagos. _No USA citizen was amongst the casualties.
“Meanwhile, the remains of the deceased persons have all been recovered and deposited in a morgue while the state police command and other security agencies are working round-the-clock, in concert with the Government of Anambra State, to find and rescue the missing officials.
“In this regard, I call on members of the public who can provide information about the identities and locations of the culprits, to kindly assist the police with such information timeously.
“On behalf of the Anambra State Police Command, I wish to seize this opportunity to condole the families and friends of the deceased persons as well as the USA Consul over this tragic incident.
“May I assure you all of the resolve and determination of the command and other security agencies to track down the perpetrators.”