The Anambra State Police command said on Thursday that the victims of the attack on the US Consulate convoy were in the Ogbaru local government area of Anambra State to assess the impact of erosion in the area.
Ogbaru was one of the local government areas in Anambra State submerged during last year’s flood that eventually caused devastating erosion in most of the communities in the area.
Addressing reporters at the state Police headquarters in Awka, the Commissioner of Police, Echeng Echeng said information about the attack did not get to the command early.
The CP 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 between 12:00hours and 14:00hours, along Atani/ Osamela Road in Ogbaru Local Government Area (LGA) of Anambra State by suspected Eastern Security Network ESN/ Indigenous people of Braifa, IPOB.
“Information about the incident was received by Anambra State Police Command, through an official of the consulate, at about 14:30 hours. “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.
“On Wednesday, 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 Ogwuaneocha community of Ogbaru LGA, which was suspected to be the hideout of the assailants, but discovered that it had been deserted.
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“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.
“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. “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.
“Information from the USAID authority disclosed that five of their staff and four policemen 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).”
The CP said the remains of the deceased persons have 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.
He called 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.
Echeng added: “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 Consulate 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.”