Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
More than 40 suspected Boko Haram Gunmen attacked the office of the Department of State Security (DSS) in Lokoja in a bid to free their members from detention.
An eye witness told Newsmen in Lokoja that the hoodlums who arrived at about 9:40 pm yesterday laid in wait till about 10:30 to commence their operations after three offensive groups were strategically positioned at intervals on the Hassan Usman Katsina road in Lokoja, the state capital.
The road leading from the Nigeria Police Zone 8 headquarters, the new Confluence stadium and to the DSS office was barricaded by the gunmen with a long truck placed across.
Having secured the road the hoodlums were poised to strike at an appointed time but the sudden emergence of a police patrol vehicle on routine patrol which was apparently oblivious of the operation triggered the attack, the eye witness explained.
The police vehicle which was caught between the first and second groups was shot at from both directions and the occupants had to abandon the vehicle and crawl out to report the happening and call for reinforcement.
A combined team of security forces from the Police, the Nigerian Army and DSS later engaged the hoodlums in a gun duel that left an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) from Kaduna State (Names withheld) and three of the hoodlums dead.
Meanwhile the third group of the gunmen had successfully carried out their assault on the DSS office with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and destroyed vehicles and structures but it was not clear whether they were able to free any detainee.
Commenting on the incident which lasted till about 1 am Saturday, Mr Emmanuel Ojukwu, Commissioner of Police in the state confirmed the death of the ASP in the operation but could not confirm whether the gunmen were of the Boko Haram sect.
“I cannot confirm whether they are Boko Haram or not. All I know is that they are criminal elements and the law will take its course. We are investigating to know the circumstances that led to that attack, their motive and others”, he said.
Ojukwu also said the 65 suspects from arrested Obajana and paraded last week were not Boko Haram suspects except that they were picked from an area called Boko Haram junction or Boko Haram Area adding that the gunmen could not have come on a rescue mission.
He assured that the police were always on “Red Alert” and were working in collaboration with other security agencies saying: “Our mandate is to keep the environment and Kogi state free and save for Nigerians to go about their lawful businesses.”
The commissioner of Police however charged the public to partner the police in the fight against crime saying: We should have an understanding that there is no way you can solve crime without community involvement.
“They must cooperate with the police and security agencies by giving information. Criminals live in our midst. Don’t hide them, criminals don’t respect persons. If you are not a victim today you may be a victim tomorrow if you don’t report criminal elements in your midst”, he added.
40 Suspected Boko Haram Gunmen Attack Kogi DSS Office
Joseph Amedu, Lokoja