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Police-Army Clash in Taraba…One Inci­dent, Dif­fer­ent Accounts

Nige­ria Police Force and Niger­ian Army Wednes­day gave two dif­fer­ent accounts on what tran­spired between some police­men and sol­diers along the Ibi-Jalin­go Road, Tara­ba State.

While the police author­i­ties alleged that some unknown sol­diers killed three police offi­cers and a civil­ian, the Army Head­quar­ters dis­missed such claim, say­ing “it will be pre­ma­ture to offi­cial­ly con­clude and speak on the real cir­cum­stances that caused this unfor­tu­nate but very avoid­able unfor­tu­nate inci­dent.”

Accord­ing to the Force Police Pub­lic Rela­tions, Frank Mba, a team of police oper­a­tives led by Felix Adolije of the Intel­li­gence Response Team, report­ed­ly came under attack while tak­ing a kid­nap king­pin, Alha­ji Hamisu, to the com­mand head­quar­ters in Jalin­go.

Mba, in a state­ment in Abu­ja, said a police inspec­tor, two sergeants and a civil­ian died as a result of gun­shot injuries sus­tained in the attack.

The police­men were tak­ing the arrest­ed sus­pect, Alha­ji Hamisu to the com­mand head­quar­ters in Jalin­go when they were shot at 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 while oth­ers sus­tained seri­ous gun­shot wounds.

The sol­diers there­after released the hand­cuffed sus­pect, Alha­ji Hamisu, who is now on the run,” Mba said.

But the Act­ing Direc­tor Army Pub­lic Rela­tions, Col. Sagir Musa, dis­agreed with Mba, say­ing 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.

Accord­ing to him, “The atten­tion of the Army Head­quar­ters has been drawn to the Press Release by DCP Frank Mba…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 two (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.”

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