Seven people were killed in Imo State, Nigeria’s South-east, on Monday, when some gunmen ambushed a convoy transporting workers to a facility belonging to the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria.
Six of the victims were working with a services company, Lee Engineering Company, which has a contract with Shell, the police spokesperson in Imo State, Mike Abattam, told PREMIUM TIMES, Wednesday.
A police inspector who provided security for the convoy was among the victims.
“They were ambushed, they came out from the bush and started firing at them. They (the victims) were all in the vehicle.
“The seven people include a police inspector who was providing security for them,” said Mr Abattam, a chief superintendent of police.
The police could not, for now, say who was responsible for the attack, according to the police spokesperson. “It is (an) investigation that will prove what exactly happened. For now, we cannot just conclude,” Mr Abattam said.
A spokesperson for Shell, Bamidele Odugbesan, said the workers were travelling to the Assa North gas development project site.
Mr Odugbesan said Shell has shut down the site and its other facilities around the area as a “precautionary measure”.
“We are greatly saddened by this development and are providing the contractor-company and the police with needed support,” he said.
The pro-Biafra group, IPOB, has been most active in Imo State.
Security agencies and other government institutions like the prisons, courtrooms, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, have been targets of gun attacks in Imo and other states in the South-east.
Two police officers were killed about five days ago during a gun attack on a police facility in Imo, for instance.
The country home of the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, was attacked and part of it set ablaze by gunmen in April.
The Nigerian government has repeatedly accused IPOB, of being responsible for the deadly attacks in the South-east, including the South-south region, but the group has denied the accusation.
Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the proscribed group, is presently detained in Abuja where he is standing trial for treason.
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