Four officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) have been killed in Rivers state.

The NSCDC agents were killed while guarding a facility belonging to the Nigerian subsidiary of Italian group, Eni in Port Harcourt, the state capital.

“The (security) operatives had engaged the gunmen in a fierce gun battle on realising that the intruders were not military men,” Rivers NSCDC spokesman, Michael Oguntuase told AFP.

The incident was also confirmed by a community leader in the area.

“Dressed in camouflage, they came in a speed boat at about 6:40pm on Monday, exchanged gunfire with the operatives, leading to the death of four,” he said.

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The attack is yet to be confirmed by security authorities or claimed by any militant group.

The Niger Delta region of Nigeria has been rocked by violence in recent times, caused mainly by militants who have a long-standing grouse with the government.