Gunmen have killed five soldiers in Umunze, a community in Orumba South Local Government Area of Anambra State, Nigeria’s South-east.
The incident happened on Wednesday at about 12:30 p.m. beside a branch of the Zenith Bank, close to the popular Nkwo Umunze market in the area.
The gunmen were said to have opened fire on the soldiers who were in their Sienna patrol vehicle, killing five of them in the attack.
A yet-to-be-identified resident, said to have been caught by stray bullets, was also killed in the attack, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.
A shop owner in the market, Comfort Mokaogwu, told PREMIUM TIMES that traders in the market closed their shops abruptly for fear of being attacked.
“People were running helter-skelter. I thank God, it (the attack) did not happen close to my shop,” she said.
A video clip of the slain soldiers has gone viral on social media.
In the clip, seen by PREMIUM TIMES, two bodies of the soldiers were inside their sienna vehicle – the vehicle had blood stains.
The soldiers’ Sienna vehicle has inscriptions, “Army” at the back and “Army Patrol” on the door side.
Another body of a soldier was seen on the ground near the vehicle. They were all in their military uniform and in the pool of blood.
Sources said two bodies of other soldiers, who were initially alive after the attack, were taken to a nearby shop by sympathetic residents.
The two soldiers, sources said, later died despite attempts by residents to resuscitate them after the attack.
“Army people I just saw here now, drinking,” a shocked unidentified resident was heard saying in the background of the video clip.
The body of the unidentified resident was seen lying in the middle of the road, just a few metres away from those of the slain soldiers.
Army spokesperson Onyema Nwachukwu, did not respond to calls and a text message seeking comments from him on the attack.
When contacted, the police spokesperson in Anambra State, Tochukwu Ikenga, confirmed the incident to PREMIUM TIMES.
He said the details of the attack were still sketchy.
Mr Ikenga, a deputy superintendent of police, said the commissioner of police in the state deployed some police operatives in the area on getting information about the attack.
“The situation is being monitored,” he said.
Security has deteriorated in Nigeria’s South-east with frequent attacks by armed persons across the region.
The attacks often target security agencies, government officials and facilities.
The latest incident occurred about four months after gunmen killed and then beheaded two soldiers at an unknown location in Imo State, Nigeria’s South-east.
On Tuesday, two persons were feared killed when gunmen attacked an army checkpoint in Amodu Awkunanaw, a community in Nkanu West Local Government Area of Enugu State.
The Nigerian government has accused the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra of being responsible for the deadly attacks in the region. But the group has repeatedly denied their involvement in the attacks.
The separatist group is leading agitation for an independent state of Biafra which they want carved out from the South-east and some parts of the South-south Nigeria.
Leader of the secessionist group, Nnamdi Kanu, is being detained in Abuja where he is facing trial for terrorism.