Three vigilance group operatives were, on Thursday, killed when gunmen bombed the headquarters of Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State, south-east Nigeria.
The incident happened about 2 a.m., according to reports.
The gunmen reportedly threw Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) into the council headquarters, destroying property and killing the security officials.
Sources from the community told PREMIUM TIMES that the IEDs razed several buildings in the secretariat.
“They (gunmen) also beheaded one of the vigilante people after killing them,” a source said.
The police spokesperson in Anambra State, Tochukwu Ikenga, confirmed the incident in a statement on Thursday.
Mr Ikenga, a deputy superintendent of police, said police operatives arrived in the area in response to a distress call at 2:55 a.m.
He said the gunmen had already killed the three vigilance group operatives and also beheaded one of them before the arrival of the operatives.
Five of the buildings in the secretariat were set ablaze by the gunmen with the IEDs and some petrol bombs, he said.
The buildings affected by the fire, according to sources in the community, included the administrative block of the council headquarters, a primary healthcare office and an office of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Others were the office of the National Youth Service Corps, an education office and an office of the National Civil Defense.
“One of the attackers was neutralized,” the police spokesperson said, adding that the presence of the operatives prevented the hoodlums from causing further damage.
My Ikenga said some of the gunmen fled the scene with bullet wounds when they were challenged by the operatives.
“The bodies of the victims were recovered and joint operations are still ongoing,” he said.
Two locally made IED launchers, seven undetonated IEDs, 40 pieces of live cartridges, 15 live 7.62 MM AK-47 ammunition, knives and charms were among the items recovered from the gunmen during the operation, according to the police.
● Increased attacks
Like other states in Nigeria’s south-east, security has deteriorated in Anambra State with frequent attacks by armed persons.
The attacks often target security agencies, government officials and facilities.
The latest incident occurred exactly two days after gunmen killed four persons, including a pregnant woman in Eziani, a community in the same council area of the state.
About two weeks ago, gunmen bombed a police facility and set inmates free in the same council area of the state.
Gunmen, on 23 December, invaded two communities in the state, abducting one and killing another.
Three weeks ago, two youth groups in the state announced the arrest of over 80 suspected criminals from their hideouts in the state.
The Nigerian government has accused the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra of being responsible for the deadly attacks in the region.
But the group has repeatedly denied its involvement in the attacks.
The separatist group is leading the agitation for an independent state of Biafra which it wants to be carved out from the south-east and some parts of south-south Nigeria. (Premium Times)