A policeman and a civilian were killed on Sunday when gunmen shot at police officers near the Assemblies of God Church in Anambra state.
The church is located on Oguta road in Onitsha.
PUNCH quotes an eyewitness as saying the policeman killed was part of the security detail guarding the church.
“Gunmen on Okada (motorcycle) shot a policeman and collected his rifle. They also shot dead an Okada man while escaping, and the passenger he was carrying was injured,” the eyewitness said.
“The policeman was the one armed among his colleagues, they were providing security while church service was going on at Assemblies of God Church, Oguta road Onitsha.”
Another witness told NAN that the police officers ran for safety when the exchange of fire became “too hot”.
“When the firing became too hot, the policemen abandoned their patrol vehicle and ran away for safety.
“The gunmen moved to their patrol van and took a gun belonging to the policeman they killed,” he said.
Garba Umar, commissioner of police in Anambra, while confirming the incident, said: “It was not an attack on the church, in the real sense of it.”
“My men were on patrol near the church when they were attacked by some gunmen.”
Speaking in the same vein, Ifeanyi Aniagoh, senior special assistant to governor Willie Obiano, says the attack had nothing to do with the church.
“The Onitsha incidence has nothing to do with church attack as confirmed by the Anambra Police Public Relations Officer, Princess Nkiru Nwode,” he said.
“She said the attack was on policemen who were on foot patrol along Oguta Road Onitsha. According to her, the attackers were hoodlums who disguised themselves as masquerades to dispossess innocent citizens of their belongings and in the process killed a police man and injured some others.”