US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has shed light on Tuesday’s attack on US Mission employees in Anambra State.
Confirming the incident in a statement on Wednesday, Blinken noted that unknown assailants attacked a convoy of two US government vehicles in the Ogbaru Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.
The convoy was said to have been carrying nine Nigerian nationals, including five employees of the US Mission to Nigeria and four members of the Nigeria Police Force.
The American government official 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.
According to him, the assailants killed at least four members of the convoy.
“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.
Expressing “heartfelt condolences” to the families of those killed in the attack, the US pledged to 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.
President Muhammadu Buhari expressed sympathy over the loss of lives of the two US Mission workers and policemen.
In a condolence message Wednesday, he said he was “very sad” to have heard about the killing of the embassy staff members and the officers 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,” the President stated.
Reward For Intel
On behalf of the state and its people, Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State “strongly” condemned the attack which he described as heinous and unprovoked.
According to a statement Wednesday by his Press Secretary, Christian Aburime, he promised that the state government would actively work with the security agencies to smoke out the criminals and bring them to justice.
“We call on anyone with information on the identity or whereabouts of the criminals to offer same on our secured security phone numbers or to any of the security agencies and such informant will be handsomely rewarded. Investigations are underway,” he said.