Three police operatives were on Wednesday night killed when gunmen attacked them at New Haven, Enugu North Local Government Area of Enugu State, Nigeria’s South-east. The incident happened at about 10:15 p.m. at a bus stop in the area. The gunmen were said to have opened fire on the operatives, who engaged the hoodlums in a shootout. The incident caused fear among residents of the area. A witness, who has a photo studio close to the scene of the incident, and asked not to be named, told Easterner that the gunmen appeared to have targeted the police operatives.
“They were three police officers (that were killed), but we saw only two bodies. They said one was taken to the hospital,” he said.
When contacted, the police spokesperson in the state, Daniel Ndukwe, confirmed the killing of the three officers to Easterner, Thursday morning. He said the operatives were driving in patrol van when the gunmen – operating in a Lexus SUV – suddenly attacked them. He said three of the operatives sustained “severe gunshot wounds” and were rushed to a hospital for treatment.
“The three operatives (were) later confirmed dead at the hospital, “he said.
Mr Ndukwe, a deputy superintendent of police, said an “intensive manhunt” had been launched to track down the fleeing suspects.
Enugu, like other states in Nigeria’s South-east, has witnessed an increase in deadly attacks lately.
The latest incident comes barely three days after gunmen attacked members of the Labour Party (LP) who were holding a meeting in Awgu Community, Awgu Local Government Area of the state. Earlier on 31 August, some other LP members were also attacked by gunmen in Nenwe, a community in Aninri Local Government Area of the state.
In late June, gunmen attacked a police checkpoint along Agbani Road in Enugu South Local Government Area of the state. Two officers were feared killed in that attack. In Mid-June, a police officer was killed by gunmen who attacked a police checkpoint in Ibagwa-Ani, a community in Nsukka Local Government Area of the state. Earlier, on 2 June, two police officers were also killed when gunmen attacked Mkpamte Community in the Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of the state. The state governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, recently banned the operations of motorcycles and tricycles in some local government areas to check the frequent attacks in the state. The governor later lifted the ban following public outcry, and assurances from leaders of the transport operators to assist the government in bringing an end to the attacks. The attacks, mostly targeted at security officials and government facilities, have been attributed to the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) which is agitating for a sovereign state for the Igbo-speaking people in the South-east. The IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, is detained in Abuja where he is standing trial for terrorism.