The Nigeria Police has blamed the United States Embassy for not seeking a security pass before entering Anambra — a violence-prone area in the southeastern region of Nigeria — where gunmen launched a deadly attack on its staff.
Four people, including two police officers, were shot dead by the gunmen at the Amiyi-Eke Ochuche axis in the Ogbaru council area.
The attackers burnt the victims’ bodies.
“The command, while reacting to the situation, regrets that a convoy of such or any related will enter the state without recourse to the police in the area or any security agency,” Tochukwu Ikenga, a spokesman for the Anambra police command, said in a statement Tuesday night.
The U.S. government has confirmed the attack and said it was investigating the incident along with the Nigerian security agencies.
“We confirm there was an incident on May 16 in Anambra State. U.S. Mission Nigeria personnel are working with Nigerian security services to investigate,” a statement by the U.S. Department.
Anambra is notorious for violent killings often attributed to unknown gunmen. Security operatives have repeatedly blamed such attacks on the outlawed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and Eastern Security Network (ESN).
“The hoodlums murdered two of the Police Mobile Force operatives and two staff of the consulate and set their bodies ablaze alongside their vehicles,” the police statement explained. “Also, the arsonist/murderers, on sighting the responding joint security forces, abducted two police operatives, the driver of the second vehicle and took to their heels. No U.S. citizen was in the convoy.”
Sources who confirmed the tragedy to The Gazette on Tuesday night said the victims were on a humanitarian mission when the attackers opened fire on their convoy.
One of the sources, Ifeanyi, explained that the vehicle attacked by the gunmen had an inscription of UNICEF.