Militants kill 12 in Port Harcourt
Borokiri and Trans-Amadi Police Stations
It was a bloody New Year’s Day in Rivers State on Tuesday as suspected militants attacked two police stations and the Hotel Presidential in Port Harcourt, the capital city, sending no fewer than 12 persons to their early graves.
Among the victims of the New Year’s Day bloodbath were four policemen, including an inspector.
Several persons were also injured in the attacks said to have been launched between midnight and 3a.m.
The militants attacked the Borokiri and Trans-Amadi Police Stations.
At the Borokiri, it was gathered that three policemen were killed in a shoot-out with the militant.
Also killed in the attack, it was further gathered, were seven civilians either returning from church or milling around their neighbourhoods.
At the Trans-Amadi police station, a police inspector was killed when militants opened fire on the station.
The hoodlums also stormed the Hotel Presidential, opening fire inside the hotel lobby, killing a security man and wounding several others.
However, the joint Task Force (JTF), comprising police and military personnel were said to have felled no fewer than four of the militants during the encounter.
Rivers State Police Commissioner, Mr Felix Ogbandu, confirmed the attacks. He said: “We are still collating the casualty figure, but it was a bloody new year day in Port Harcourt.”
Ogbandu also confirmed that the police killed some of the militants and recovered three assault rifles and one machine gun from them.
The commissioner added that the militants abandoned three vehicles with which they operated.
Worried by the development, Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, summoned a security meeting on Tuesday to review the security situation in the state.
Only last week, three policemen had lost their lives when gunmen, suspected to be militants, attacked the Akinima Police Station in the Ahoada West Local Government Area of the state.
The gunmen had stormed the station in a speedboat, which berthed at the waterside. They reportedly started shooting immediately.
The policemen at the station were caught unawares and before they could fight back, an inspector and two constables had been shot dead.
Also in April last year seven policemen were killed when militants attacked the Mini Okori and Elelenwo police Station.
Meanwhile, Mr Tonye, the Action Congress (AC) governorship candidate for Rivers in the April 2007 election, has criticised the attack on the police stations and the Hotel Presidential.
Princewill told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Port Harcourt on Tuesday that the aim of the attack might not be unconnected with plans by some persons to destabilise the state government led by Gov. Amaechi.
He said: “I suspect that the motive behind these attacks is to destabilise the Gov. Amaechi-led administration in Rivers state.
“I therefore call on all Rivers people to resist such moves by saying no to cultism or militancy.”
Princewill urged the security agencies not to be deterred by the loss of their colleagues, but to continue to do their best to protect life and property as well as maintain law and order.
“I am sure that our security agencies are alive to their responsibilities and are in a good position to check these attacks. It’s most unfortunate that more lives are being lost to militant attacks in Rivers state,” he added.
He commiserated with the families of those who lost their lives in the early morning attack and prayed God to grant them the fortitude to bear the great loss.