Police in Nigeria say suspected Biafran separatists have shot dead a traditional ruler and his two aides in the south-eastern state of Imo.
The gunmen visited the home in Oguta under the guise of reporting an emergency situation before opening fire.
It was not immediately clear why the traditional ruler, Eze Ignatius Asor, was targeted in Monday’s attack.
The Nigerian authorities said the gunmen also attacked the office of a community vigilance group as they fled – killing at least one person and stealing three motorbikes.
The secessionist group, Indigenous People of Biafra – which police blamed for the killing – has not yet commented.
The group is campaigning for a breakaway state of Biafra in the south-east of the country.It’s often blamed by the authorities for increasing deadly violence in the region.
From emirs to kings, Nigeria’s traditional rulers are increasingly being humiliated by politicians – and mocked by young people who see them as representing an archaic institution.
The latest example of this was the brutal dethronement of the Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II.
The state governor invoked his constitutional powers to depose the emir after accusing him of “insubordination”.
No-one knows the number of monarchs in multi-ethnic Nigeria but there seems to be one ruling over every inch of land, often putting them at loggerheads with the politicians who have constitutional authority.
Nigeria’s traditional leaders retain huge influence in many parts of the country but recent events have made some young people question the role of the monarchy in the 21st Century.
Mr. Sanusi is the most high-profile of several cases in the last five months in which politicians have publicly brought monarchs to heel or the actions of some traditional rulers have led people to question their relevance.
Mr. Sanusi was removed for “total disrespect” of institutions and the governor’s office, the government said.
But in truth, his removal was the culmination of a long tussle with Kano state governor Umar Ganduje, a powerful figure within Nigeria’s governing All Progressives Congress (APC) party.