The Imo State Police Command on Monday blamed suspected members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as being behind the attack on the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state.
Gunmen on Monday morning attacked the INEC facility along Port Harcourt Road in Owerri, the state capital. Four persons including one policeman lost their lives in the dastard attack.
Few hours after the attack, the spokesperson for the Imo State Police Command, Mike Abattam, told Channel television that an investigation is ongoing to ascertain the group behind the heinous act.
“They are suspected members of the Indigenous People of Biafra. Presently, we are investigating. It is the outcome of our investigation that will determine those that will be held complicit,” he said on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
“We gave them a hot chase. The Command’s Tactical teams were able to follow them and in the process, we were able to neutralise three of them.”
The police spokesman said operatives were able to recover three AK-47 rifles, three pump action guns, two Improvised Explosive Device (IED), petrol bombs, charms and other dangerous weapons.
Noting that two of the gunmen were captured alive with bullet injuries, the police official said the Command is still combing the area to apprehend other fleeing suspects.
Attacks on INEC offices have become rampant of recent, just about two months to the 2023 general elections.
Before Monday attack, two other attacks have been recorded in Imo – in the Oru West Local Government Area and in the Orlu Local Government Area.
Also, in November, INEC office in the Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State was set on fire by hoodlums. Offices of the commission in Osun and Ogun states were also attacked by gunmen. Several Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) and other electoral items were destroyed in these attacks.