Members of separatist group Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) yesterday killed a policeman during an early morning “surprise attack” on riot policemen at Oyigbo Junction in Port Harcourt.
They took away the slain policeman’s gun, injured two other policemen and burnt down their patrol vehicle, the police said.
It was the second day of their attack on policemen in the Rivers State capital. The attacks started following rumours that soldiers had killed members of the group in Abia State.
Rivers State Commisioner of Police Zaki Ahmed, who confirmed the attack and killing, said in a statement: “The command was awaken with yet another attack incident today (yesterday) at about 12:10 am, when some members of IPOB regrouped and launched a surprise attack at mobile policemen stationed at Oyigbo Junction, killing a police sergeant identified as Steven Daniel, attached to Mopol 19, injuring two others and burning down their patrol vehicle.
“Also, one sterling SMG riffle belonging to the deceased officer was taken away by the attackers.
“They were, however, repelled by the police, about nine of them were arrested, bringing the total number of suspects arrested to 32.
“They are helping us in investigation and will be due in court as soon as the investigation is concluded.
“The situation has since been brought under control. People are now going about their lawful businesses. I can assure you that justice will be done in the circumstance. All those connected to this senseless carnage will be brought to justice.
“We shall spare no efforts in dealing with any criminal element in the state.”
Ahmed debunked the alleged attack on a mosque and businesses owned by northerners and said no other person, apart from the policeman, died.
He said the expressway blocked by the agitators had been opened for smooth movememt.
Recalling the attrocity committed by the group on Tuesday in Port Harcourt, CP Ahmed said ”members of IPOB, at about 2:00pm on Tuesday unlawfully blocked Port Harcourt /Aba expressway and attacked some residents.
“The same group, without justification for their action, also attacked a police van from Nonwa Police Training School enroute Port Harcourt International Airport, and burnt the van to ashes.
“The driver of the van, Inspector Emaikwu Ochochi, was badly injured and he is at present on admmision in a hospital. The attackers also carted away one AK47 riffle with 60 rounds of live ammunition and one Barretta pistol with eight rounds of live ammunition.
“At the end of their rampage, many vehicles were damaged and scores burnt. The timely response of the police restored normalcy and brought the situation under control as adequate deployment was made to arrest the situation.
“The mob was despersed with minimum force, thereby restoring law and order at the end of which 23 IPOB members were arrested.”