No fewer than five policemen were this morning killed during a gun battle with suspected cultists in Okobe community, Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State.
A civilian reported to be a bus conductor was also among the persons killed in the alleged ambush.
Vanguard gathered that the police officers were intercepted by the unidentified hoodlums on the Okobe axis of the East-West road and there was heavy exchange of firearm.
A community source who related the development to Vanguard said the police officers were overpowered during the gun duel because they were caught unawares.
The source who spoke on condition of anonymity disclosed that hoodlums were on the prowl in the area, adding that police had visited in respect of that.
The source noted that the policemen were trailing criminals in the area before they were ambushed and killed.
He added that no casuality was recorded on the side of the hoodlums, revealing that the only civilian that died in the incident was the conductor of the bus which the police officers had used in disguise during the operation.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Police Command has described the killing of the policemen as senseless and barbaric.
Confirming the development, the Public Relations Officer of the command, DSP Ahmad Muhammad said the officers were en route Bayelsa State before they were ambushed by hoodlums.
Muhammad who could not firm the number of police officers involved noted that the victims were officers attached to 30 Police Mobile Force in Bayelsa State.
â€œWe are deeply pained by the senseless and barbaric killing of our colleagues attached to 30 PMF Yenagoa, who were ambushed in the early hours of today at Okobe en route Yenagoa.
â€œTodayâ€™s tragedy again demonstrates the enormous calamities we and witness in the course of our job. We put their lives on the line every day to confront crime and violence in our communities. We will stop at nothing to bring the perpetrators of this dastard act to justice.â€