The Nigeria Police has initiated investigations into how three of its own and a civilian were shot and killed by soldiers, and an alleged kidnap kingpin got released by the soldiers.
Meanwhile, another account says the policemen were killed by youths of Ibi town in Taraba State.
Police spokesman, Deputy Commissioner of Police Frank Mba, in a statement said the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu, has ordered full-fledged investigations into the circumstances surrounding the death of the three (3) Police operatives and one (1) Civilian, and serious injury to other Police operatives.
According to him, they were on investigation activities to Ibi, Taraba State, to arrest one Alhaji Hamisu indicted in a series of high-profile kidnap incidents in the State.
Said Mba, “The Police Operatives, led by ASP Felix Adolije of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) reportedly came under sudden attack and serious shooting by soldiers of the Nigerian Army, along Ibi – Jalingo Road, Taraba State. The Operatives, who were taking the arrested suspect, Alhaji Hamisu to the Command Headquarters in Jalingo, were shot at severally by the soldiers despite sufficient proof that they are Police personnel on legitimate duty.
“Three Policemen (comprising one Inspector and two Sergeants) and one civilian died as a result of gunshot injuries sustained in the attack while others sustained serious gunshot wounds. The soldiers thereafter released the handcuffed suspect, Alhaji Hamisu, who is now on the run.
“Alhaji Hamisu, a notorious kidnap kingpin, has been on the Police wanted list for his complicity in several high-profile kidnap cases including the recent abduction of an Oil-Mogul in Taraba State wherein a ransom of about One Hundred Million Naira (N100,000,000) was paid.
“The IGP has ordered the AIG Medicals to proceed to Jalingo to ensure concerted efforts in the treatment of the injured Police officers. The remains of the deceased have been deposited in the morgue.
“Meanwhile, the Force has commenced full investigation into the bizarre and unfortunate incident.”
The Army statement of the tragedy is different. It says:
“On the unfortunate incident that occurred on the 6th of August 2019 in which troops of 93 Battalion Nigerian Army Takum pursued and exchanged fire with some suspected Kidnappers who indeed turned out to be an Intelligence Response Team from the Police Force Headquarters Abuja on a covert assignment from Abuja resulting in the death and injury of some members of the Team.
“On the 6th of August 2019, the said Nigerian Army troops, while responding to a distressed call to rescue a kidnapped victim exchanged fire with the suspected kidnappers along Ibi-Wukari Road in Taraba State.
“The suspected kidnappers numbering about ten (10) and driving in a white bus with Reg No LAGOS MUS 564 EU refused to stop when they were halted by troops at three consecutive check points. The flagrant refusal of the suspected kidnappers to stop at the three checkpoints prompted a hot pursuit of the fleeing suspects by the troops. It was in this process that the suspected kidnappers who were obviously armed opened fire at the troops sporadicaly thus prompting them to return fire.
“In the resultant fire fight, four (4) suspects were shot and died on the spot while four (4) others sustained various degrees of gunshot wounds and 2 others reportedly missing. It was only after this avoidable outcome that one of the wounded suspects disclosed the fact that they were indeed Policemen dispatched from Nigerian Police, Force Headquarters, Abuja for a covert assignment.
“However, following inquiries from a Police Station officer who was asked by the commander of the Army troops whether he was aware of any Nigerian Police team being dispatched to operate in the LGA, the Divisional Police Officer of Ibi Police Division responded that he was not informed about any operation by the Nigerian Police Force Headquarters thus lending credence to the distressed call from members of the community that the suspects who turned out to be Policemen on a covert mission were rather suspected kidnappers.
“This incident is indeed quite unfortunate and could have been avoided through proper coordination and liaison as the Nigerian Police Force are partners in the fight against crimes such as kidnapping amongst myriads of other internal security threats confronting our nation of which the Nigerian Police is the lead Agency.
“In order to avert future occurrences of this nature, the Army Headquarters and the Force Headquarters of the Nigerian Police have agreed to constitute a Joint lnvestigation Panel to be headed by the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Criminal Investigation Department, DIG Mike Ogbizi, to jointly investigate and report on the true circumstances surrounding the unfortunate incident. Therefore, until the Joint Investigation Panel concludes and submits its report, it will be premature to officially conclude and speak on the real circumstances that caused this unfortunate but very avoidable unfortunate incident.”
Meanwhile a news report gives a different account.
According to online newspaper, forefrontng. com, a false alarm raised by youths led to the death of the police detectives on special duty from the Force Headquarters Abuja.
The report reads: “It was gathered that the four detectives had gone to the town for the arrest of one Hamish Wadimi over alleged gun running.
“However, it was further after the arrest of Wadimi, the youths in the town raised alarm claiming that the detectives were kidnappers which led to a mob action resulting in the death of the four detectives.
“A source at the Police command headquarters in Jalingo, the Taraba state capital confided in Forefront News that the killed detectives had on their arrival from Abuja reported at the state Police command headquarters in Jalingo before proceeding to Ibbi Local Government for the arrest.
“The team, it was also gathered, on arrival in Ibbi equally reported to the Divisional Police officer (DPO), and the Chief of Ibbi to intimate them of their mission before arresting Hamisu Wadimi.
“However, in spite of their adherence to laid down procedure with regards to area of jurisdiction, trouble started shortly after the arrest of the suspect when the youths began (to) protest over the arrest of Wadimi and began chasing the detectives shouting “kidnappers, kidnappers” up to a military check point located few kilometers from the Ibbi town.
“The villagers allegedly informed soldiers at the check point few killometers from the village that the visitors were kidnappers.
“It was further gathered that on sighting the Humma Toyota Bus conveying the detectives, the soldiers allegedly opened fire on the vehicle thereby forcing the driver to stop.
“According to an eye witness who spoke to Forefront News under cover, the youths of Ibbi numbering over one hundred armed with assorted weapons chased the detectives to the military check point and forced them out of the vehicle and killed four of them while two escaped into the bush.
“It was also gathered that based on findings, the military men at the check point later discovered that the victims were police detectives from the Force headquarters, Abuja.
“As the time of filing this report, a combined team of soldiers and policemen have been deployed to Ibbi Local Government to search and arrest the killers of the four police detectives.
“The Taraba state police command spokesman, DSP David Misal, replied to a text message sent saying; “we are gathering details of the unfortunate incident and we will brief the press soon.”
“Meanwhile, the suspected gun runner, Hamisu Wadimi has been rearrested and taken to the police headquarters in Jalingo.”