ANAMBRA, Nigeria — Four staff members of the United States Embassy in Nigeria were tragically gunned down on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, while participating in a humanitarian mission in Anambra State, in the southeastern region of the country.
The brutal attack, which occurred in the Amiyi/Eke Ochuche communities within the Ogbaru Local Government Area, remains shrouded in mystery, as motives for the horrific assault have yet to be fully clarified.
The victims, a mix of white and black officials, were conducting a medical outreach in the rural riverine area.
Eyewitnesses reported that the assailants ambushed their vehicle, inciting widespread panic as they stormed an area where local residents had gathered to receive medical treatment from the UNICEF officials.
“They were ambushed and about four of them were gunned down, while others sustained various degrees of injuries as they escaped with their vehicle that has the inscription, UNICEF,” a local source disclosed.
In response to the horrific incident, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, spokesperson for the Anambra Police Command, confirmed that a rescue/recovery operation was underway.
“The joint security forces have embarked on a rescue/recovery operation in Ogbaru LGA, following an attack on a convoy of staff of US Consulate on Monday, May 15, 2023, by 3:30 pm along Atani, Osamale road.”
Ikenga revealed that two of the Police Mobile Force operatives and two staff of the Consulate had been murdered, and their bodies set ablaze along with their vehicles.
He also noted that the assailants abducted two police operatives and the driver of the second vehicle before fleeing the scene.
“The command, while reacting to the situation, regrets that a convoy of such or any related will enter the state without recourse to the police in the area or any security agency,” Ikenga said.
He reassured the public that the battle against the insurgents in the State remains focused and will be sustained until security stability is fully restored.
“Further details shall be communicated, please,” he concluded.
The shocking incident comes amidst an uptick in violence in Nigeria’s southeastern region, prompting calls for increased security measures and international collaboration to ensure the safety of foreign nationals working within the country.
The U.S. Embassy has not yet issued a statement regarding the attack.