Gunmen yesterday attacked two checkpoints and killed seven security personnel at Obubra, Cross River State. The attack was reportedly carried out by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
A source said six of those who died were policemen while one soldier died during a gun duel with the suspected IPOB. The source said the gunmen were chanting IPOB songs as they attacked the two police checkpoints at Oyadama and Ofatura, both in Obubra Local Government Area. “The people came in a vehicle in the morning (yesterday) and were chanting ‘IPOB songs’.
They came from the Nko side in Yakurr Local Government Area and attacked the checkpoint at Oyadama and killed four police officers before heading to Ofatura to kill another two police officers. “They also shot one soldier in the hand at one of the checkpoints. He later died.
They carted away all the arms belonging to the security personnel,” the source, who claimed to have witnessed the attacks, said. However, the state Police Command, which described the incident as “unfortunate,” denied that six of its men died in the encounter. A statement with reference number: AZ:5250/CRS/PPRD/ VOL.17/100, signed by the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Irene Ugbo, said only two policemen died and not six. She said: “The Cross River State Command regrets and condemns the unfortunate attack on policemen by unknown gunmen at two checkpoints in Obubra Local Government Area early hours of today, Wednesday, 3rd March 2021. “The command hereby refutes the trending news making the rounds in some quarters that six policemen were killed in the said attack.
“This press statement is hereby issued to clear the air that two policemen lost their lives, one injured and responding to treatment. “Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police, S. K. Akande, calls for calm while frantic effort is ongoing to get to the root of this incident. “The command enjoins residents and well-meaning Cross Riverians to view security as a collective venture by sharing genuine information with the police. We are resolute in making Cross River State peaceful for all and confront this security monster in the state, head on.”
This was the second time police checkpoints were attacked in Cross River State in less than one week. The first was the killing of four police officers on MCC-Idundu Road by Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Bypass in Calabar Municipal Local Government Area on February 25, 2021, about 1am. In the meantime, a source close to the Nigerian Army said an Army officer was killed as they confronted the gunmen. “When the incident occurred, some soldiers were sent from the 245 Recce Battalion, Ikom, to arrest the situation. On getting there, the gunmen, seeing the soldiers, abandoned their vehicles and ran into the forest. At the point of exchanging bullets, one soldier was shot and he died later,” the source said.