Gunmen opened fire and killed several members of a security patrol in Nigeria’s southeastern region on Tuesday, police said, in the latest in a series of violent attacks that are usually blamed on separatist militants.
A team from various Nigerian security agencies was patrolling a remote community in Ehime Mbano area of Imo state when they were ambushed by the gunmen, the police said.
Authorities said they were still investigating the attack and could not immediately confirm the death toll, but Lagos-based newspapers said eight security personnel were killed, citing local sources. Videos that appear to have been taken at the scene show bodies of security forces lying next to burning vehicles.
Police in Imo said security forces have been deployed to restore calm in an area that has become restless the trend of such attacks in areas with insufficient security presence.
LATEST ATTACK IN NORTHERN NIGERIA KILLS AT LEAST 20 VILLAGERS
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“The commissioner of police has ordered an investigation to root out the perpetrators of this dastardly act to face the full wrath of the law,” Imo police spokesman Henry Okoye told The Associated Press.
Such attacks have become rampant in recent years in southeastern Nigeria, where separatists are demanding the region secede to form an independent state. Police have accused the separatists – referred to as the Indigenous People of Biafra – of killing dozens this year in attacks that often targeted security personnel or people who do not support their cause.
The latest attack came a day after the Nigerian military said its troops killed three members of the separatist group and seized their weapons during a “fierce clash” in another part of the restive region.
“Winning the battle, the troops wasted no time in destroying several heinous camps used by members of the groups to commit heinous crimes,” military spokesman Onyema Nwachukwu said in a statement.