Gunmen on Thursday morning invaded the private residence of the Chairman of Katsina-Ala Local Government Area, Benue state, Mr. Alfred Atera in Katsina-Ala town.
Three Police Officers and two others were shot dead by unknown gunmen.
The Chairman who escaped death narrowly was smuggled out of his residence during the exchange of gunfire.
An eyewitness who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the invaders stormed the residence at about 11am on motorbikes when several persons in the area had gathered to see the Council Chairman to seek assistance ahead of the Yuletide celebrations.
He said, “It happened like what we see in the movies, the people came on a motorbikes shooting sporadically and trying to force their way into the private residence of the Chairman.
“They were initially resisted by the private security guard in the residence and when it became obvious that they were armed men who came looking for the Chairman, the Police personnel on duty at the time intervened but unfortunately three of the police men lost their lives including the private security man in the house and one other person.
“Several other sustained bullet wounds while some got injured in the pandemonium that broke out during the exchange of gunfire.
“Though nobody knew who the gunmen were but the manner they carried out the operation was similar to those of the boys of a late militia leader who tormented Sankera axis of the state for several years,” he added
Katsina-Ala Local Government Information Officer, Tertsea Benga, who confirmed on telephone that the attack occurred between 11am and 12 noon said “people were trooping into the residence of the Chairman for Christmas largesse when suddenly the gunmen struck, killing the three policemen and two other civilians including a gateman in the house.”
Benue State Police Public Relations Officer, Deputy Superintendent, DSP, Catherine Anene, confirmed the attack and the death of the victims.
She said the command had opened investigation into the matter.