Anambra State police command said it has raided a camp occupied by hoodlums operating in Ogbaru Local Government Area of the state, and arrested two suspects over the killing of two US Consulate officials in the area.
The state Police Commissioner, Echeng Eworo Echeng made the disclosure on Thursday at a press conference in Awka, Anambra State.
Echeng said police operatives moved swiftly immediately the command got the information on the attack.
According to him, the operatives combed the area and also raided a camp used by gunmen in the area and found that it had been totally deserted, but was able to arrest two persons, who are now helping police in their investigation.
He said: “As you are probably aware, a team of officials from the Lagos Consulate of the United States of America and their police escorts (USA) were ambushed on 16/05/2023.
“Consequently, a 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 shot-out but they escaped through a nearby forest.
“Yesterday – 17/05/2023, 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 Ogwuaniocha community of Ogbaru LGA, which was suspected to be the hideout of the assailants, but discovered that it had been deserted. Two persons of interest were arrested and they currently assisting the police in the investigation. The criminal camp was razed down by the joint security team.”
Echeng said the arrested men have had their contacts traced through their phone conversation, and that the command is gradually closing in on the killers.
Asked the level of cooperation the command has received from the US government since the incident, Echeng said the US embassy has been cooperative, and has also helped the command with needed information on the officials and their mission to Anambra.
He said this was not the best time to apportion blames about whether the officials sought security clearance from the command before coming into the state or not, adding that the priority now is to get the perpetrators to face the law.
He stated that: “The preliminary investigation conducted by the command, following the incident, revealed that five male officials of the USA consulate and four armed Mobile Police escorted 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.”
The CP further revealed the identity of the officials who were involved in the attack. They are 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).
“Regrettably, seven persons (including three of the consulate officials and 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; Inspector Bukar Adams, Inspector Friday Morgan, Inspector Adam Andrew and Inspector Emmanuel Lupata all of Squadron 23, Police Mobile Force, Lagos. No USA citizen was amongst the casualties.
“Meanwhile, the remains of the deceased persons have all been recovered and deposited in a morgue while 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.
“In this regard, I call on 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.
“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.”