Gunmen dressed in mobile police camouflage have ambushed and killed seven policemen at different security points along the Rivers State axis of the East-West Road.
The gunmen, who rode in two Hilux vans, first attacked the policemen at the checkpoint close to Choba bridge and manned by the state’s police outfit codenamed C-4-i.
It was gathered the hoodlums killed two policemen at the checkpoint and took their rifles before proceeding to the Rumuji Divisional Police Headquarters located at Emohua Local Government Area.
A police source, who spoke to the Nation in confidence, said the gunmen engaged the policemen at the checkpoint in front of the Divisional headquarters, killing two of them.
But he said: “They burnt the police patrol van outside the station and tried to force their way into the Divisional headquarters but the policemen at the station engaged them in a gun battle and repelled their attempts to destroy the station.
“I know that about three of the hoodlums were shot by the police but they bundled them into their van and escaped. I am sure that they will not survive the bullet wounds”.
A visit to the Rumuji Divisional Headquarters showed peace had returned to the area and no property inside the station was torched by the hoodlums.
The burnt Hilux van outside the station was yet to be evacuated as some angry-looking armed policemen were stationed at a strategic position.
The marauders were said to have proceeded to the Ogbakiri Junction in Emohua and opened fire on policemen at the checkpoint.
The hoodlums were said to have attacked the Elimgbu Police Station in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, killing three policemen including two ASP and an Inspector of Police.
A police sergeant reportedly sustained injuries at the Elimgbu station.
Persons killed by the gunmen at Rumuji, were identified as an ASP and an Inspector while a constable reportedly sustained injuries.
A community source, who spoke in confidence, said sounds of gunshots started before 10pm on Friday and caused panic among residents.
The Rivers Police Command confirmed the attacks,describing them as unprovoked and mindless.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Nnamdi Omoni, further confirmed seven policemen were killed in the incidents.
He said: “The incidents, which led to the death of seven policemen occurred last night at about 2030hrs, where unknown gunmen driven in two branded Hilux vans, attacked the special checkpoints at Choba bridge, where in a surprised attack, killed two policemen on duty and set ablaze a private car belonging to one of the policemen.
“A similar attack was launched at Rumuji Police Station by the same hoodlums who killed two policemen on duty and burnt a police patrol vehicle. However, a stiff resistance by the police prevented the hoodlums from gaining access into the police station.
“In the course of exchange of fire, two of the attackers were fatally wounded and died on the spot.
The third attack at Elimgbu Police Station was equally resisted by the police, though three officers were killed in that attack but the serious fire engagement made them to abandon their bullet-riddled Hilux van, while they escaped with various degrees of gunshot wounds with a snatched Sienna bus.
“The continued engagement by the Police, also forced them to abandon the Sienna car they were using to escape at the Refinery junction, while their remnants again escaped with bullet wounds”.
Omoni said the remains of the fallen heroes had been evacuated and deposited in the mortuary.
He said: “The Commissioner of Police, CP. Eboka Friday, who led members of his management team and tactical Commanders to the respective scenes this morning for an on-the-spot assessment, has launched a serious manhunt for the preparators with a view to apprehending the culprits and bringing them to justice.
“So far, the Command is relatively calm and the Commissioner of Police is currently in a security meeting with his team, as security has been further strengthened in all the police formations in the state, including other critical public and private infrastructure.
“It is pertinent to note, that in all three attacks carried out last night, no Police Station/formation was burnt. Regrettably, a total of five assault rifles were lost in the incident.”