President Muhammadu Buhari has received a brief of the killing of three policemen in Taraba State.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, disclosed this to reporters on Thursday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Abubakar was briefing State House correspondents at the end of the National Security Council meeting presided over by the President.
He said President Buhari also got briefed on the general security situation across the country.
According to him, the Council is satisfied with the efforts being made to secure the nation and promises to sustain the progress recorded so far.
The meeting had in attendance the Chief of Staff to the President, Mr Abba Kyari, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin.
Also in attendance are the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai; the Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok Ekwe Ibas, as well as a representative of the Inspector General of Police and heads of other security outfits in the country.
President Buhari met with them following the killing of three police personnel and a civilian in a gunfight with troops of 93 Battalion Nigerian Army Takum in Taraba.
According to a statement from the police, the victims were on investigation activities to arrest one Alhaji Hamisu indicted in a series of high-profile kidnap incidents in the state.
The Force said the operatives, who were taking the arrested suspect to the Command Headquarters in Jalingo, were shot at severally by the soldiers despite sufficient proof that they were police personnel on legitimate duty.
Reacting in a statement, the army explained that although the incident could have been avoided, the policemen “refused to stop when they were halted by troops at three consecutive checkpoints.”
It said the refusal of the security operatives to stop at the checkpoints prompted a hot pursuit by the troops, adding that policemen opened fire at the troops “sporadically” which prompted them to return fire.
Read the statements from the police and army below:
THREE POLICE OPERATIVES, ONE CIVILIAN KILLED BY SOLDIERS IN TARABA
- Kidnap Kingpin set free
- IGP orders full-fledged investigations
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.
Meanwhile, the Force has commenced full investigation into the bizarre and unfortunate incident
DCP FRANK MBA
FORCE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
The attention of the Army Headquarters has been drawn to the Press Release by
DCP FRANK MBA
FORCE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
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 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.
In the resultant firefight, 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.
Acting Director Army Public Relations
7 August 2019