Gunmen killed two police officers in Nigeria’s southern Akwa Ibom state, according to a spokesman, in the latest attack on security personnel in the region.
The incident occurred on Tuesday evening in the state’s Ika district, when gunmen ambushed and shot the two on their way home from work, according to police spokesman Odiko MacDon in a statement.
He claimed that some gunmen on motorcycles tried to attack the Ika police station but were repulsed.
“Unfortunately, they ambushed and killed a woman police corporal, Esther Akpan, who had just finished her shift and was on her way home in the company of a police special constabulary,” he said.
The gunmen also set fire to a police patrol vehicle, according to Macdon.
In recent months, Southeast Nigeria has seen an increase in deadly attacks on police and other security forces.
In a wave of attacks by gunmen in the region, dozens of security personnel have been killed and police stations have been burned.
The attacks appear to have spread to neighboring southern states in recent weeks.
On Saturday, five security officers were killed in nearby Port Harcourt, Rivers state’s capital.
On Saturday, three police officers were killed when gunmen attacked the governor’s residence in nearby Imo state.
Although no group has claimed responsibility, police have blamed the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), an outlawed separatist organization. It has denied the charge.
IPOB seeks an independent Biafra state for the Igbo people of southeast Nigeria.
Separatist calls for a Biafra state in the south are a sensitive topic in Nigeria, where a unilateral declaration of independence in 1967 triggered a brutal 30-month civil war.
The war claimed the lives of over one million people, the majority of whom were Igbo.