A well-detailed investigation has been commanded by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu on Wednesday (August 8) over the death of three police operatives and a civilian in Taraba State which occurred on August 6th.
According to the news report, the killing occurred in Ibi, a village in Taraba State while the police operatives were undergoing an investigation on Alhaji Hamish.
Alhaji Hamish is being prosecuted for multiple counts of high profile kidnapping occurring in Kaduna State. He is wanted especially for a recent kidnapping of an oil mogul in the state where he collected a ransom of about N100 million before release.
In a statement approved by the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, said that the investigation case involving the police operatives was led by ASP Felix Adolije of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT).
Aside from the death of the three operatives and the civilian, the statement indicated that several policemen were injured due to the serious shooting by soldiers of the Nigerian Army.
Although glaring that they were police operatives performing their legal duties, they were shot several times as they were taking the suspect Alhaji Hamisu to the command headquarters in Jalingo.
“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 stated.
The inspector-general of police has ordered the assistant inspector-general of police in-charge of medicals to proceed to Jalingo to ensure concerted efforts in the treatment of the injured police officers.
Reacting to the incident, the Nigerian Army attested that it was quite unfortunate and could have been averted through proper coordination and liaison.
Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Col. Sagir Musa who responded to the statement of the Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba, said that the police operatives were taken as kidnappers after they refused to stop in three separate checkpoints.
Sagir Musa said, “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”.
“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 checkpoints. 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”.
To avoid a similar occurrence in the future and to decide on the best way to handle the mishap, the Army Headquarters and the Force Headquarters of the Nigerian Police consented to form a Joint investigation Panel to be headed by DIG Mike Ogbizi, the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Criminal Investigation Department, to jointly investigate thoroughly and report on the true circumstances surrounding the unfortunate incident.