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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Gunmen bomb Imo INEC headquarters

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Heavily armed hoodlums on Monday bombed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) headquarters along Owerri Port Harcourt road in Imo State, killing two policemen.

The gunmen threw grenades through the commission’s fence, destroying several offices and vehicles parked within the premises.

However, the police stationed at the INEC office engaged the gunmen in a heavy shootout, leaving three of the gunmen wearing charms and Biafra camouflages dead.

It was gathered that some of the policemen were critically wounded while several of the hoodlums sustained multiple bullet injuries before they fled towards Onitsha road.

But police reports said the gunmen killed one policeman and injured one in the gun duel that lasted for an hour and kept the residents of Owerri, the state capital awake throughout the night.

INEC public relations officer, Dr. Chinenye Chijioke-Osuji confirmed the attack to The Nation.

INEC Head of Department, Voter Education and Publicity (VEP), Mrs. Emmanuella Opara, said some parts of INEC State office like the EPM(Election and Political Party Monitoring and Liason) building were completely burnt while the Accounts and Servicom depts were also torched.

She said: “The fire started about 2am this morning(Monday).

A gateman said: “This morning, gunmen launched a vociferous attack on the INEC office in Owerri, Imo State but the joint security team was able to repel them and killed three of the attackers, including their commander.

“Seven vehicles were recovered, including seven AK47 and pump action rifles. Many of the gunmen escaped with bullet wounds. But one police vehicle was burned by the hoodlums.”

However, the Imo State Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Michael Abbatam, who confirmed the incident, said only three AK47 rifles and vehicles were recovered.

He said three gunmen were killed while two firebombs were recovered from the scene.

This is happening eight days after an INEC office was attacked in the Orlu Local Government Area of the state.

He stated, “We killed three of the attackers and recovered three AK47 rifles and pump action guns. We also recovered two explosives and three of their vehicles.”

It was gathered that security had been beefed up in parts of Owerri, following the incident.

Abattam, who later spoke to journalists in Owerri at the command headquarters were the lifeless bodies of the hoodlums were paraded said five riffles, two vehicles, charms, locally made bombs , phones and money were recovered from the slain gunmen.

He also confirmed the death of a cop and injuring of another policeman.

Abattam said: “They attacked the INEC headquarters in Owerri, around 3am. They threw bombs at the roof of the INEC building but unfortunately for them, they were resisted by our men who were guarding the place. They came in four vehicles and fully armed.

“While they engaged our men on grounds we reinforced. Noticing that we were stronger they ran away, abandoning one of their vehicles. We gave them a hot chase towards the Onitsha Road. Fortunately, we neutralised three of them.

‘Others escaped with bullet wound injuries. Unfortunately one of our men paid the supreme price. Another one was injured. We recovered two vehicles. We also recovered five riffles, charms, locally made explosives, phones and money and other exhibits.”

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