Full text: Police, Army statements on Taraba killings

Aisha John-Mark, Abuja

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The Nigerian Police and the Army released press statements on Wednesday explaining the circumstances surrounding the Taraba Killings.

The Nigerian Police statement was signed by DCP Frank Mba, Force Public Relations Officer,
Force Headquarters in Abuja.

“The Inspector-General of Police, IGP M.A Adamu,NPM, mni  has ordered full-fledged investigations into the circumstances surrounding the death of three (3) Police operatives and one (1) Civilian, and serious injury to other Police operatives, who 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.

“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.

Army statement

The Nigerian Army statement was signed by Colonel Sagir Musa, the spokesman, Nigerian Army Headquarters.

“The attention of the Army Headquarters has been drawn to the Press Release by DCP FRANK MBA FORCE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
FORCE HEADQUARTERS ABUJA Ref No. CZ.5300/FPRD/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.2/68       Date: 7th August, 2019 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 check-points 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 sporadically 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 investigation 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.