JUST IN: Tension as gunmen kill soldier, policeman in Sapele

Heavily-armed gunmen late Sunday reportedly invaded an army checkpoint at Otonyasere community in Sapele Local Government Area of Delta State, allegedly killing a soldier and a policeman.

Reports say the assailants emerged from Otonyasere River in a speed boat and opened fire on the army officers who were manning the entrance of the community, near the river.

It was not clear what the assailants were after, but sources disclosed that they were on a kidnap mission, but needed to disarm the army at the checkpoint before they could execute their mission.

The checkpoint said to be manned by only two soldiers at the time, the sources said, was the only entry and exit point in the community through the river.

It was gathered that some security operatives attached to a hotel in the community, who got a distress call and rushed to the scene, forced the gunmen to beat a retreat through the riverside.

The ensuing crossfire between the two parties, it was further gathered, led to the killing of the policeman.

The development has, however, generated tension in the area as hordes of military personnel from 19 Battalion, Nigerian Army, Koko, have been reportedly deployed to the lumbering town to halt further criminality.

A security source not authorised to speak on the matter, however, confirmed the death of a soldier but gave no details.

It will be recalled that attacks on soldiers manning riverine waterways have been frequent in recent times across the state.

Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Delta Police Command, Onome Onovwakpoyeya, confirmed the killing of a soldier and a policeman on Monday, adding that investigations were ongoing to arrest the assailants.

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