By Paul Nwosu,Anambra State Commissioner for Information/Edited by Ononye VC
The Anambra State Commissioner of Police Echeng E. Echeng has vowed to lead the charge to arrest the hoodlums who ambushed a convoy of the USA consulate on Tuesday, May 16 in Ogbaru LGA of Anambra State that led to the death of seven persons.
Police Commissioner Echeng lamented that a team of officials from the Lagos Consulate of the United States of America and their police escorts (USA) were ambushed between 12:00hours and 14:00hours along Atani/Osamala road in Ogbaru Local Government Area (LGA) of Anambra State by suspected Eastern Security Network ESN/ Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB).
According to Echeng, information about the incident was received by the Anambra State Police Command through an official of the USA consulate at about 14:30 hours. A crack 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 shootout but they escaped through a nearby forest.
The next day, on Wednesday, May 17, 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 Ugwuaniocha community of Ogbaru LGA, which was suspected to be the hideout of the assailants, but discovered that it had been deserted.
Police Commissioner Echeng revealed that two persons of interest were arrested, and they are currently assisting the police in the investigation. The criminal camp was razed down by the joint security team.
Following the preliminary investigation conducted by the police command after the incident, it was discovered that five male officials of the USA consulate, escorted by four armed Mobile Police 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.
Seven persons made up of three of the consulate officials and the 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. It needs reiteration that no US citizen was amongst the casualties.
USAID authorities disclosed that the five (5) of their staff and the four policemen who were involved in the attack are as follows: 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).
Meantime, the remains of the deceased persons have all been recovered and deposited in a morgue.
Echeng has given the assurance that 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. He called on the 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.
Police Commissioner Echeng concludes thusly: “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 of these heinous crimes and bring them to justice.”
Meanwhile, Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, CFR, has made the plea that anyone with information on the identity or whereabouts of the criminals to offer it on the state’s secured security phone numbers or to any of the security agencies, and such informant will be handsomely rewarded. While investigations are underway, Governor Soludo assures all residents of Anambra and visitors of the government’s continued commitment to law and order. Mr. Governor stated: “If anything, this incident has emboldened our drive.”