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Regional News of Wednesday, 28 December 2022


Gunmen bomb Nigerian police facility, set inmates free

The photo used to illustrate the story The photo used to illustrate the story

Gunmen have bombed the Ihiala Police Divisional Headquarters in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State, south-east Nigeria.

The attack happened on Wednesday at about 3:00 a.m., residents told PREMIUM TIMES.

The gunmen were said to have thrown improvised explosive devices into the facility, which razed a building inside the station.

An indigene of the area, Uju Okafor, said the bombing and sporadic shootings by the gunmen did not allow them to sleep during the attack.

“I was very scared when I started hearing of the heavy shootings and bomb explosions,” she said.

Mr Okafor said it was later in the morning that they realised that the attack was carried out at the police facility.

Chinonso Okoye, another indigene of the area, told PREMIUM TIMES that the gunmen set some inmates free during the attack.

“It was very early this morning that the gunmen started shooting and throwing bombs. We heard they released some people in the police cell,” he said.

The police spokesperson in Anambra State, Tochukwu Ikenga, confirmed the attack in a statement on Wednesday.

Mr Ikenga, a deputy superintendent of police, said some police operatives engaged the gunmen in a shoot-out during the attack and subsequently recovered one Ak-47 rifle.

He said no life was lost in the incident and that the gunmen “escaped the scene due to superior fire” power of the operatives.

“Unfortunately, the explosives the gunmen threw inside the police station building had already ignited a fire and affected the building,” he said.

The police spokesperson, however, said the fire had been put off.

When a PREMIUM TIMES reporter asked if the gunmen set some inmates free during the attack, Mr Ikenga said, “yes, and we are on their trail now.”

He did not give the exact number of the inmates who were set free by the gunmen.

Increased attacks

Like other states in Nigeria’s South-east, security has deteriorated in Anambra State with frequent attacks by armed persons.

The attacks often target security agencies, government officials and facilities.

The latest incident occurred less than one week after gunmen invaded two communities in the state, abducting one person and killing another.

Last Sunday, two youth groups in the state announced the arrest of over 80 suspected criminals from their hideouts in the state.

The Nigerian government has accused the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra of being responsible for the deadly attacks in the region. But the group has repeatedly denied their involvement in the attacks.

The separatist group is leading the agitation for an independent state of Biafra which it wants to be carved out from the south-east and some parts of south-south Nigeria.