Tony Okafor, Awka
Gunmen on Sunday attacked policemen guarding the Assemblies of God Church on Oguta Road, Onitsha, Anambra State killing one policeman and a civilian.
The killings came seven days after gunmen attacked St. Philips Catholic Church, Ozubulu, killing no fewer than 13 persons.
An eyewitness told our correspondent that the gunmen stopped at the church and on sighting some policemen opened fire on them.
He said, “When the shooting became too hot, the policemen abandoned their patrol vehicle and ran away.
“The gunmen moved to their patrol van and took a gun belonging to the policeman they killed. I saw two of the gunmen but I can’t say how many they are.”
Another eyewitness said, “Gunmen on okada (motorcycle) shot a policeman and collected his rifle. They also shot dead an Okada rider while escaping, and the passenger he was carrying was injured. The policeman was the one armed among his colleagues; they were providing security while the church service was going on at the Assemblies of God Church, Oguta Road, Onitsha.
The Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Garba Umar, confirmed the incident to journalists, saying, “My men were on patrol near the church when they were attacked by some gunmen. It was not an attack on the church, in the real sense of it.”
Reacting to the killing, the Anambra State Government said there was no truth whatsoever in the story that a church in Onitsha was attacked.
A statement by the Chairman, Governor Willie Obiano Media Team, Chuks Iloegbunam, said the attack was carried out by hoodlums who disguised as masquerades and tried to snatch the personal belongings of pedestrians on Oguta Road.
He added, “In the event, a policeman on foot patrol was killed while two others were injured. The Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer, Princes Nkem Nwode confirmed this to be true. The Assemblies of God Church on Oguta Road was not at all affected. It conducted its Sunday service peacefully.”
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