Gunmen in central Nigeria have killed eight people, including a divisional police chief, in the latest violence before the February 25 presidential and parliamentary elections, police and a security source said on Wednesday.
Insecurity is a big issue for voters in a country where armed gangs terrorise people in villages and on highways, and carry out kidnappings for ransom, especially in the north.
Police in Benue state responded to a distress call after gunmen blocked the Markurdi-Naka road, forcing travellers to flee, state police spokesperson Catherine Sewuese Anene said.
The divisional police officer for Naka town, Mamud Abubakar, led a team of officers that engaged the armed gang in a gunfight, Anene said in a statement.
“However, the DPO (divisional police officer) who led the team sustained gunshot injuries and was rushed to General Hospital Naka where he was eventually confirmed dead,” she said.
A police source said two other police officers were shot and killed during the fight with the armed gang.
When the gunmen retreated, they killed two children and three women in a nearby village, said the source, who declined to be named because he is not authorised to speak to the media.