The Nigerian Army has said that its troops attached to 93 Battalion, Takum, Taraba State, shot dead three policemen and one civilian in error after they were mistaken for kidnappers.
The acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col Sagir Musa, stated these in a release on Wednesday night, while reacting to an earlier release by the Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba, who said the policemen, including an Inspector, were shot dead by the soldiers.
Frank Mba had earlier announced the killing of three police officers and severe injuries on other personnel after Nigerian Soldiers opened fire on a police team who went to arrest a wanted kidnap kingpin identified as ‘Alhaji Hamisu.
“The police officers came under sudden attack and serious shooting by soldiers of the Nigerian Army,” Frank Mba said.
In reaction, the army noted that the policemen, who were later found to be on a covert operation, refused to stop at three military checkpoint and were trailed and shot dead by troops who had earlier received a distress call.
“The flagrant refusal of the suspected kidnappers to stop at the three checkpoints prompted a hot pursuit of the fleeing suspects by the troops.”
Read the full statement issued by the army spokesman below:
“The attention of the Army Headquarters was drawn to a release by DCP Frank Mba, the Force PRO, on the unfortunate incident that occurred on August 6 in which troops of 93 Battalion, 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 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 10 and driving in a white bus with Registration Number, 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 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, thus prompting them to return fire.
“In the resultant firefight, 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.”