US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken has giving details about the country seven embassy staff and men of the Nigeria Police Force killed and burnt beyond recognition by unknown gunmen on Tuesday along Atani-Osamale road in Ogbaru local government area of Anambra State.
Antony Blinken in a press statement on Wednesday said the victims were members of the security advanced party team who were traveling to the Ogbaru local government area ahead of the planned visit of a US mission staff.
According to Blinken, unknown gunmen attacked a convoy of two US government vehicles in the Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State with nine Nigerian nationals, including five employees of the US Mission to Nigeria and four members of the Nigeria Police Force.
The figures indicated that the numbers of persons still in the custody of unknown gunmen after the attack remained two. The Nigeria Police Force has confirmed seven persons to have been killed and burnt beyond recognition while it noted that others on the convoy were taken away by the unknown gunmen.
Blinken also noted that the Nigerians were travelling in advance of a planned visit by US Mission personnel to a U.S.-funded flood response project in Anambra.
“We do not yet know the motive for the attack, but we have no indications at this time that it was targeted against our Mission,” Blinken stated.
“The US Mission personnel are working urgently with Nigerian counterparts to ascertain the location and condition of the members of the convoy who are unaccounted for,” he said.
“We condemn in the strongest terms this attack. We will work closely with our Nigerian law enforcement colleagues in seeking to bring those responsible to justice.”
The United States has no greater priority than the safety and security of its personnel, the secretary of state maintained.
Antony Blinken expressed condolences and consoled the families of those killed in the attack, adding that the US will do everything possible to safely recover those who remained missing.
“We deeply value our relationship with our Locally Employed Staff and our partnership with Nigeria. The United States reaffirms its commitment to the people of Nigeria to assist in the fight against violence and insecurity,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday expressed condolences on the loss of lives of United States embassy officials and Nigerian policemen accompanying them in an attack by gunmen in Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State.
In a statement signed by one of the presidential spokespersons, Garba Shehu, President Muhammad Buhari said he has equally been briefed about the tragic killing of several persons in Bwoi District of Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State, as well that of several villagers in Adaka village in Makurdi Local Government and in Ijaha community of Apa Local Government Area of Benue State.
“I was very sad hearing about the killing of the embassy staff and our policemen accompanying them. In this difficult time for the families of those killed, the American Embassy and the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, I extend the nation’s condolences over the very sad incident,” he said.
The President said he is deeply pained to learn about these gruesome deaths and expresses sincere condolences to the families of the victims.
“We share the grief of the American Embassy, the Nigeria Police Force and our communities in Plateau and Benue and remain committed to fishing out the perpetrators of the attacks and bringing them to justice. May God give their families the strength to bear the unfortunate losses”, President Buhari stated in quote.
Also, Presidential Candidate of Labour Party in the last general elections in Nigeria, Peter Obi said that there is nothing that could be painful that unknown gunmen killed US embassy staff and security operatives while they were on a charity job for the people and nation in need.
Peter Obi said in quote; “I just got the most reprehensible news of the attack and killing of some international humanitarian workers in Anambra state, which happened on Tuesday. This despicable act is highly condemnable.
“My heartfelt sympathy goes to the families of the deceased, the United States Embassy and other charitable International agencies involved.
“Nothing can be more deplorable than that somebody has to die while rendering a charity job for a people and a nation in need.
“The rising crime rate in our community and country is not unconnected with the frightening rising poverty level and unemployment of youths in our land which is a consequence of a prolonged leadership failure over the years.
“When youths in their product ages remain idle for a prolonged time the devil finds in them veritable tools to build workshops in. Our redemption remains a quick turnaround from consumption to production.
“I urge the appropriate security agencies to put no stone unturned in ensuring that the perpetrators of these wicked and abominable acts are fished out and made to face the full wrath of the law”.