Suspected rebels kill 8 police officers ahead of Nigeria election

Police have blamed the attacks on the Indigenous People of Biafra, which is seeking independence for southeast Nigeria.

At least eight Nigerian police officers have been killed in separate attacks by suspected rebels in the country’s southeast just days ahead of presidential elections.

The killings come as more than 90 million people are registered to vote this Saturday to elect a successor to Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, who is stepping down after two terms in office.

Four officers were killed in an attack on a police station in Anambra state on Monday, local police spokesperson Tochukwu Ikenga said, while authorities are searching for suspects in the killing of four other police officers in two separate attacks over the weekend.

The rebels “attacked Awada police station in Idemilli North … using improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and automatic firearms,” Ikenga said of the police death toll from Monday’s attack.

“Four police operatives paid the supreme price while a section of the station, one police patrol vehicle and three exhibit vehicles parked in the premises were set ablaze,” he said in a statement.

Three of the attackers were also “fatally wounded”, and two others were arrested, he added.

Police have blamed the attacks on a rebel group known as the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), which is fighting for the independence of the ethnic Igbo people in southeast Nigeria. The IPOB and its armed wing, the Eastern Security Network, have denied responsibility for the frequent attacks in the region.

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