Gunmen on Thursday night burnt down a police station in Orlu, Imo State, and also killed a police inspector.

Three of the gunmen were also killed in the ensuing gunfire between them and the police, an official said.

The police spokesperson in the state, Mike Abattam, said the incident happened at about 9.35 p.m.

He said the bandits threw explosives and petrol bombs on top of the roof of Orlu police station, damaging the roof and causing a fire in the station.

He said the fire affected some of the vehicles at the parking lot.

Mr Abattam said the command’s tactical teams on the ground engaged the bandits in a gun duel. And due to the superior firepower of the police, the bandits were subdued, he said.

“Three of the bandits were neutralised and their guns, one pump action gun and two locally made double barrel pistols were recovered while others escaped into the bush with bullet wounds.

“Unfortunately, a police inspector lost his life in the attack,” he said.

The spokesperson urged the public to report anyone with bullet wounds to the police.

He said, “Meanwhile the command is using this medium to call on the good people of Imo State especially, the Orsu community to assist the police with credible information that will lead to the arrest of the escaped bandits and to report to the nearest police station any person seen with or treating bullet wounds.

“Also hospitals are advised to ensure that they report any person who come to them for treatment of bullet wounds,” the police said.

Imo State has been the worst hit by the recent attacks by gunmen in the South-east of Nigeria. Authorities blame the ESN, the armed wing of the separatist group, IPOB, for the attacks.

Dozens of police officers have been killed in such attacks in the region and public facilities including vehicles and buildings destroyed.

IPOB – whose leader, Nnamdi Kanu, was recently re-arrested in Kenya and brought back to Nigeria to face trial – has denied carrying out the attacks.

IPOB is a secessionist group seeking an Independent State of Biafra to be carved out of the present South-east states of Ebonyi, Enugu, Anambra, Abia and Imo and some parts of South-south Nigeria.

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