Friday, April 26, 2013

Gunmen Attack Police Stations, Kill Six Officers in Nigeria

Gunmen attack police stations, kill six officers

Nigerian Guardian

• Abduct DPO, burn houses, market

• Nigeria tasks Security Council on crises in Africa

A DAY after the Federal Government inaugurated two committees to check insecurity, fresh violence claimed six policemen in Borno and Yobe states Thursday.

In Borno State, gunmen attacked the Bama Divisional Police Station, shot dead four policemen and kidnapped the divisional police officer (DPO) to an unknown destination at 11.00 a.m.

They also burnt three houses and part of the market located near the attacked police station.

Bama is 78 kilometres southeast of Maiduguri, the state capital.

According to an eyewitness, the gunmen came in two vehicles and three motorcycles to attack the police station with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and petrol bombs, before soldiers rushed to the scene to repel the gunmen who fled with gunshot wounds into the community.

He said: “We were terrified and shocked by the multiple attacks on the police station, as many of us ran into our houses and shops for safety, as sporadic gunshots near the station continued for over two hours between the gunmen and soldiers. Some of the policemen at the station took to their heels into various directions.”

It was also learnt that the station and the Maiduguri-Bama Road were cordoned for three hours, before the 4.00 6.00 a.m. curfew imposed by the JTF last month.

A resident said that the DPO was forced into one of the gunmen’s vehicles, and taken to an unknown destination.

The Borno State Police Commissioner, Yuguda Abdulahi, confirmed the incident yesterday in Maiduguri, adding that no arrest had been made yet by either the JTF or police.

In Yobe State, gunmen attacked the Joint Task Force (JTF), police area command office and the divisional police station in Gashua. They killed two policemen while the JTF killed five of the gunmen. Gashua is 85 kilometres north of Damaturu, the Yobe State capital.

The gunmen, according to a resident, came in various vehicles and tricycles after midnight and attacked the military post and two police formations with Improvised Explosives Devices (IEDs) and petrol bombs.

In a statement, the Spokesman of JTF, Lt. Lazarus Eli said that the gunmen escaped in two vehicles, after snatching a police patrol Hilux vehicle with siren, another vehicle and police uniform from the attacked police station.

The statement also said that some arms and ammunition were also recovered from the gunmen , noting that the JTF was still hunting for the gunmen that fled into the Gashua community.

Meanwhile , the Minister of Foreign Affairs Amb. Gbenga Ashiru has urged the United Nations Security Council to adopt a preventive approach to the crises of Africa.

Ashiru spoke at the United Nations General Assembly, New York, on the peaceful resolution of conflicts in Africa.

He stated that the role of the UN in the pursuit of peace should not begin and end with peacekeeping, peace support and peace building operations but to engage in peaceful preventive action to resolve disputes before they degenerate into armed conflicts that threaten international peace and security .

Also, Ashiru and the United States (U.S.) Secretary of State, John Kerry, yesterday met in Washington to discuss modalities for strengthening the two countries’ Bi-national Commission (BNC).

Welcoming Ashiru and his team to the meeting, Kerry said Nigeria and U.S. “have a close association, close working partnership, and Nigeria is a very important leader within the African Union (AU) as well as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).”

He said that unfortunately, Nigeria was facing some violence in the northern part of the country, “which we condemn, and we join with them in helping to fight against extremism.”

The American top diplomat stressed that the U.S. was appreciative of Nigeria’s support “on many numbers of issues, from economic leadership to energy leadership, security. We have a lot of work to do and a lot to talk about. So I’m happy to welcome you here. Thank you.”

Reacting, Ashiru said he was also happy to be in Washington to meet with the U.S. Secretary of State.

“It’s a very important meeting for us. We appreciate the strategic partnership we have with the U.S. And we believe that as a leading country in Africa, we can bring so much in terms of the maintenance of peace and security on the continent, which we do on behalf of the UN Security Council and also the United States,” he said.

The Guardian learnt that the meeting was expected to discuss an exchange of visit between President Goodluck Jonathan and President Barrack Obama.

It would also look into issues related to the forthcoming meeting on global forum on counter-terrorism.

The Nigeria-U.S Bi-National Commission was established on April 5, 2010, after both countries entered into an agreement to promote good governance and fight corruption.

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