Tragedy struck on Tuesday afternoon when a convoy of United States embassy staff came under heavy fire in the Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra state, leaving two employees and two police officers dead.
The gunmen also kidnapped three individuals — a driver and two other police officers.
According to the police spokesperson in the state, Ikenga Tochukwu. “The hoodlums murdered two of the Police Mobile Force operatives and two staff of the Consulate, and set their bodies ablaze and their vehicles,” noting that the area was known for separatist violence.
He also expressed regret that the convoy chose to “enter the state without recourse to the police in the area or any security agency”. Law enforcement, he said, arrived only after the attackers escaped.
US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby briefly addressed the incident at a White House press briefing on Tuesday, affirming “it does look like a US convoy vehicle was attacked”.
“What I can tell you is that no US citizens were involved, and therefore there were no US citizens hurt,” Kirby said. He indicated that the US was aware of the casualties.
The US Department of State later issued a statement saying its diplomatic staff were “working with Nigerian security services to investigate”.
“The security of our personnel is always paramount, and we take extensive precautions when organising trips to the field,” the State Department said.