The Army and Police authorities have made up a Joint Investigation Panel, in order to investigate the incident which involved the troops of 93 Battalion, Takum, Taraba which led to the death of some police personnel on Tuesday, August 6.
The acting director of Army public relations, Colonel Sagir Musa, in a statement on Wednesday, said that Mike Ogbizi, the deputy inspector general of Police in charge of criminal investigation department, would head the panel.
Musa said that the panel would investigate jointly and report on the true circumstances surrounding the unfortunate incidence in order to prevent future occurrences. He added that, not until the joint investigation panel concludes its findings and submit report, it would be premature to officially conclude and speak on the real circumstances that caused the avoidable incident.
The army spokesperson explained that the said army troops, while in bit of responding to the distressed call to rescue a kidnapped victim exchanged fire with the suspected kidnappers along Ibi-Wukari Road in the state. He further added that the suspected kidnappers numbering about 10 who drove in a white bus with Registration No LAGOS MUS 564 EU refused to stop when they were halted by troops at three consecutive check points.
According to him, the immediate refusal of the suspected kidnappers to surrender at the three checkpoints led 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 suspects were shot and died on the spot while four others sustained various degrees of gunshot wounds and two 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,” he said.
It was further added by Musa that the army troops commander inquired from the divisional Police officer of Ibi Police division if he was aware of any Police team being dispatched to operate in the area but he denied knowledge of the team. According to him, lend 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. “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,” he added.
As reported by NAN, the Force public relations officer, DCP Frank Mba, had earlier issued a statement that the Police Operatives, led by ASP Felix Adolije of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) reportedly were attacked suddenly by soldiers along Ibi–Jalingo Road. Mba said that the operatives, who were taking the arrested suspect, Alhaji Hamisu to the Command Headquarters in Jalingo, were shot at severally by the soldiers in spite of sufficient proof that they are Police personnel on legitimate duty.
Three Policemen comprising one Inspector and two Sergeants and one civilian were killed by gun fire during the attack while others sustained serious gunshot wounds. The suspect was released by the soldiers and had been on the run, according to him.