Nigerian Army says the three policemen shot dead by soldiers were mistaken for kidnappers—-
On Wednesday, August 7th, the Nigeria Police Force accused soldiers of killing three of their personnel while freeing a kidnap suspect in Taraba state. (Read HERE)
The Nigerian army has now admitted that its men killed three police operatives and a civilian in Taraba, but said the men were mistaken for kidnappers.
According to army spokesman, Colonel Sagir Musa, troops of the 93 Battalion in Takum, ‘exchanged’ fire with the policemen after they failed to stop at three checkpoints. He said the soldiers were responding to a distress call that someone had been kidnapped. It turned out, he said, that the people attacked were members of the IG Intelligence Response Team from the Police Headquarters Abuja.
According to his statement, a joint investigation committee headed by the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Force Criminal Investigations Department, DIG Mike Ogbizi has now been been tasked to investigate the circumstances surrounding the killing of the police operatives.
Read the full statement below…
“The attention of the Army Headquarters has been drawn to the Press Release by DCP Frank Mba, Force Public Relations Officer, 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 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.”