Nigerian Police Force has said the claims by the Nigerian troop on the killing of three policemen and one civilian is an “obvious distortion of facts.”
Police’s spokesman Frank Mba in a press statement almost 24 hours after the army reacted to the attack, said it was “insensitive, disrespectful and unpatriotic” of the army to have described “policemen on lawful National Assignment as ‘suspected kidnappers’”
Mba on Wednesday night said three policemen – an Inspector and two Sergeants – and a civilian were on a covert operation in Taraba State when they were killed by the Nigerian troops.
An assistant superintendent of police, Vincent Maxwell, on Thursday said the officers killed were among the best on the inspector-general of police’s intelligence response team (IRT).
The Nigerian army, in its reaction to the statement, said the team of police in a white bus “refused to stop when they were halted by troops at three consecutive check points,” prompting the army to suspect them as the kidnappers.
“The flagrant refusal of the suspected kidnappers to stop at the three checkpoints prompted a hot pursuit of the fleeing suspects by the troops,” army’s spokesman Sagir Musa said.
“It was in this process that the suspected kidnappers who were obviously armed opened fire at the troops sporadicaly thus prompting them to return fire,” Musa alleged.
Mba said it is “not true” that the policemen failed to identify themselves as alleged by the army. He said a video “now viral” explains that the “voice of one of the soldiers was heard loudly proclaiming that the Policemen were from the Force Headquarters, Abuja speaks volume.”
Mba also cleared that all necessary quarters were aware about the operation.
“As a matter of fact, some of the Detectives from the Taraba State Command’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) were part of the operation,” Mba added.
The police, however, demanded that the kidnap suspect arrested by the police team should be provided by the army, while claiming that the suspect was “rescued” by the soldiers.
“How could a kidnap suspect properly restrained with handcuffs by the Police escape from the hands of his military rescuers?”
Mba insisted that the actions of the soldiers before and after the killing of the policemen were suspicious.
He said: “If Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume is a ‘‘victim of kidnap’’ as claimed, and properly rescued by soldiers, why was he not taken to the Army Base for documentation purposes and debriefing in line with the Standard Operating Procedure in the Nigerian Army?”
“Why were the Police Operatives shot at close range even after they had identified themselves as Police Officers on legitimate duty as evident in the video now in circulation?”
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