Monday was a sad day for the Nigeria Police Force as it lost six of its personnel to unknown gunmen in Bayelsa and Rivers states, while a station was set ablaze in Imo State.
In the most deadly of the attacks, some gunmen invaded a police station in Agudama, Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, and killed the Divisional Police Officer, SP Ola Rosanla; a pregnant policewoman, identified as Joy Wellington; and two other yet-to-be identified cops on duty.
The gunmen reportedly made away with rifles, ammunition and the police uniforms they found at the station in the operation that lasted close to one hour.
One of our correspondents gathered that the gunmen invaded the station, which has a perimeter fence, through the bank of the river in the community and caught the policemen on duty unawares.
They were said to have led the DPO to the armoury at gunpoint and took all the guns and ammunition there, after which the bandits reportedly forced him to kneel down and shot him dead.
Thereafter, the bandits were said to have moved from room to room in search of policemen believed to be hiding. It was in one of the rooms that they killed the pregnant policewoman.
It was gathered that two other policemen on patrol in the community heard the gunshots and rushed down to the station and engaged the bandits in a shootout, but they were overwhelmed by the superior firepower of the hoodlums.
Though the cops were said to have inflicted bullet injuries on the attackers, they also suffered gunshot wounds and were in critical conditions at hospital.
A source in the community, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said no civilian was killed in the attack as there were no detainees in the station at the time of the attack.
It was gathered that the attack was carried out around 2.15am.
“At dawn, we heard that one policeman escaped, while another, who was shot in the leg, survived the attack,” the source said.
The source added that all the rifles in the armoury of the police station and uniforms belonging to deceased officers were taken away by the gunmen.
As of the time of filing this report, the corpses of the DPO and the other cops had been deposited in the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, by their colleagues.
In Rivers State, some unidentified gunmen shot dead two policemen at a checkpoint in Port Harcourt and took away their rifles.
The incident, which occurred at Ojoto Mile 2, caused anxiety as residents and passers-by ran helter-skelter when they heard gunshots.
It was gathered that the gunmen left immediately after the operation, which lasted for about three minutes.
An eyewitness, who identified himself simply as Stanley, told our correspondent that the two policemen were manning a checkpoint when they were attacked.
Stanley, who is a trader, stated that the bandits were driving to an unknown destination when they got to the checkpoint and opened fire on the policemen.
“It (the incident) happened around 2pm. The gunmen were in a vehicle around the Ojoto area of Port Harcourt. When they got to a checkpoint on the road, they brought out their guns and shot the two policemen on duty,” he said.
Punch gathered that business owners in the area hurriedly closed their shops after the incident.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Nnamdi Omoni, confirmed the incident, stating that the hoodlums attacked and killed two policemen.
Omoni added that two rifles belonging to the cops were taken away by the hoodlums.
“I can confirm to you that today(Monday), two policemen were attacked and killed at Ojoto in Port Harcourt. The bandits also took away their rifles,” Omoni said.
In Imo State, pandemonium broke out on Monday as hoodlums, suspected to be cultists, set the Otoko Police Station in the Obowo Local Government Area of the state on fire.
The hoodlums, who sacked the few policemen on duty, made away with no fewer than four rifles.
A source in the village said the villagers were on the run because of the incident.
According to him, the incident occured around 2.50pm.
“The Otoko Police Station in the Obowo Local Government Area of Imo State is on fire. Cultists burnt down the station and took away all the firearms,” the source stated.
When contacted on the telephone, the state Commissioner of Police, Rabiu Ladodo, said he was at the scene of the incident.
“I am at the scene of the incident. I am assessing the extent of damage at the scene. I am with the villagers. Please exercise some patience and I will call you once I am through,” Ladodo told one of our correspondents.
Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has ordered a massive manhunt for the perpetrators of the Bayelsa attack.
The IG condemned the attack, which resulted in the death of the DPO, Rosanla, and three other officers, while two others were severely wounded.
A statement by the Force spokesman, Frank Mba, said the IG had vowed that no stone would be left unturned to apprehend the perpetrators and bringing them to justice.
Mba stated, “The IG has also ordered the immediate deployment of crack detectives from the IGP-Intelligence Response Unit, the forensic and homicide sections of the Force Criminal Investigation Department and special operatives of the Marine Police Department to Yenagoa to complement the efforts of the Bayelsa State Police Command in carrying out discrete investigation into the unfortunate incident.
“The IG, while paying tribute to the fallen heroes, condoled with the families of the four cops, who paid the supreme price in the service of their fatherland, describing the incident as a classic example of the risk and sacrifices that the police we are exposed to in their daily task of protecting our homeland.
“The IG enjoins the Agudama Ekpetiama community and the entire people of Bayelsa State to remain calm and to avail the police with credible information that will help the law enforcement agencies to apprehend the criminals.”
The Secretary to the Bayelsa State Government, Mr Kemela Okara, condemned the attack on the police station, stating that the government received the news about the incident with shock and disbelief.
Okara, who is from the area where the attack took place, said the government would not spare any effort to bring the perpetrators to justice.