Police stations and security outposts in River State are targeted amid deteriorating security in the country.
Gunmen killed at least seven Nigerian police officers overnight in an attack in the southern oil hub of Rivers State, police said on Saturday.
The statement said the attackers opened fire on a checkpoint on Friday evening and attacked two police stations. Officers returned fire, killing two assailants and injuring several others who fled in a stolen car, police said.
The killings come amid deteriorating security in Rivers State – whose capital, Port Harcourt, is the gateway to the oil-rich Niger Delta – and other parts of Africa’s largest crude exporter.
Last month, Rivers State banned people from crossing its borders at night in a bid to stop the killing of police, customs officers, civil defense officers and soldiers.
At around 30:30 on Friday evening, gunmen drove two Toyota Hilux vans and killed two officers at a checkpoint on the Chauba Bridge, police spokesman Namnadi Omni said in a statement.
The gunmen then killed two more officers and set fire to a patrol vehicle at Rumuji police station, Omni added. He said police shot and killed two of the attackers there.
The rest of the attackers then stormed the Elimgabu police station and killed three officers before police opened fire. People fled in a stolen car “with gunshot wounds of varying degrees,” Omni said.
The attackers stole five assault rifles and police used a tactic.
The Nigerian parliament last week called on the president, the armed forces and the police to address growing insecurity, while the lower house called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency.
Since December, bandits have abducted 700 people from schools in the northwest, armed groups have killed scores of soldiers and civilians in the northeast, and kidnappings and crime have increased across the country.