Gunmen ambush JTF operatives, kill 8 officers, burn vehicles in Imo


*Army, Navy, Police, NSCDC officers killed!

*Attackers opened fire on victims on routine patrol in 2 Hilux trucks killing all

*Gov Uzodima’s aide confirmed attack, assured perpetrators will be prosecuted

By Athan Agbakwuru, Owerri

Unknown gunmen have reportedly ambushed and killed eight security personnel of the Operation Search and Flush Joint Task Force as well as set ablaze their bodies and two Hilux trucks at Eke Nku, Umualumaku in Ehime Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State.

The tragic incident which occurred Tuesday morning, it was learnt, happened while the security operatives were on patrol but were taken unawares by the daredevil gunmen who had ambushed the squad.

Nigerian Pilot gathered from some anonymous community sources that the slain and torched operatives comprised two each from the Navy, Army, Police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC.

The respective sources disclosed that the community was thrown into panic and was immediately deserted following the heavy firing of gunshots by the bloodthirsty hoodlums.

It was further gleaned that the hoodlums opened fire on the unsuspecting hapless security personnel, killing all of them before setting their bleeding bodies ablaze.

Following the incident, the community and its neighbours have remained deserted with heavy deployment of security agents to the area to restore calm while a police helicopter roved and aerially combed all corners of Ehime Mbano villages in desperate search for the fleeing gunmen.

“The incident is terrifying and our people have never seen this kind of tragedy before. The firing was so heavy that people around had to scamper for safety and the hoodlums continued unchallenged until they killed all the men and burnt them and their trucks.

“All of us are hiding in different places, some have even run to the cities, there is heavy security presence now with helicopters hovering everywhere”, a source said.

The State Police Relations Officer, PPRO, ASP Henry Okoye who was called severally for reaction could not respond to either confirm or debunk the incident.

Reacting to the attack on the Joint Task Force, by some criminal elements at Umualumaku Ehime Mbano, the office of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Narcotics and Illicit Drugs Monitoring condemned the attack and also commiserated with the security agencies over the loss of their men in the heinous act.

In a statement issued a few hours after the incident, the Governor’s Special Adviser, Hon. Ezechukwu Obonna applauded the security agencies for sending reinforcement teams to the scene of the crime and restoring sanity in the community.

He expressed belief that those behind the criminal act will be fished out soonest and brought to book without delay stating that Imo must prevail against the enemies of the state.