Update On Police/Military Killings, Military Advises Soldiers To Travel In Mufti And Be Cautious

The war brewing between the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigerian Military has taken a new dimension as the military has sent an internal memo (got by WakeUpAfrica360), where they asked the military to be cautious in their movements, avoid confrontations with the police, and even wear mufti when traveling across the country. See a copy of the memo below

This came as a result of the shooting and killing of three policemen and a civilian by soldiers along Ibi-Jalingo Road, Taraba State, last Wednesday. The attack also left several other officers injured and currently hospitalized. The Police operatives led by ASP Felix Adolije of the Intelligence Response Team, were suddenly attacked while taking a kidnap kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu, to the Command Headquarters in Jalingo.

The Force spokesman, DCP Frank Mba, explained in a statement in Abuja, that one Police Inspector, two Sergeants and a civilian died as a result of gunshot injuries sustained in the attack, and this was after they had shown sufficient proof to the soldiers on patrol in that area that they were on legitimate duty.

Frank Mba

Franj Mba stated, “The Police operatives, led by ASP Felix Adolije of the IRT, reportedly came under sudden serious shooting by soldiers of the Nigerian Army along Ibi-Jalingo Road, Taraba State. The Police operatives who were taking the arrested suspect, Alhaji Hamisu Wadume, to the Command Headquarters in Jalingo, were shot at several times 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, while others sustained serious gunshot wounds. The soldiers thereafter released the handcuffed suspect, Alhaji Hamisu, who is now on the run.”

Another account has emerged on what really happened between operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team and some soldiers along Ibi-Jalingo Road, Taraba State. According to security agents, the order to attack the policemen, who were on lawful duty came from an unmamed Captain of the Nigerian Army, who is a friend of Wadume and also suspected to be on Wadume’s pay roll. The sources claimed that the operatives introduced themselves at each military checkpoint while heading to Ibi village to make the arrest, they even chatted with the soldeirs and exchanged pleasantries as sister-forces.

“The road to Ibi village is very narrow and only that road leads to the village. You have to pass through it to enter or leave the village. Ibi is a small village. That was why when the operatives encountered the soldiers at the three checkpoints, introduced themselves and what they came for. They chatted, joked and exchanged pleasantries. The arrest was made within 20 minutes and while they were returning, soldiers at the first and second checkpoints asked them if they were already through. The soldiers and operatives know one another, but the phone call from a top military personnel changed everything.”

The operatives were reportedly attacked at the third military checkpoint in the village, and they were taken unawares. When the soldiers allegedly opened fire on the operatives’ bus, the shocked driver lost control of his wheel and the bus somersaulted. Operatives, who were fast enough to crawl out of the damaged vehicle fled into the bush. The soldiers, when they got to the scene, realised those at the scene were still alive. They shot three operatives and a civilian among them at close range.

“Two of the recovered corpses had bullet holes in their stomach, the other two had bullet holes in their chests. Ibi is a small community and within a twinkle of an eye, the scene of the accident and attack was swarming with people. The soldiers labelled the operatives kidnappers, leading to jubilation.

Sources said it was the arrival of the people to the scene that saved the lives of the remaining two operatives, who had earlier crawled to hide. So the soldiers knowing there was no way they could kill them in front of the crowd, deliberated among themselves and later took them to the Army base, insisting that the videos of the killings had gone viral and that killing the remaining operatives would raise questions, the soldiers reluctantly took them to hospital.

A security source said: “The three IRT operatives were brutally murdered while on investigation duty in Taraba State by personnel of the Nigerian Army. It is believed that these soldiers and their boss are working for Wadume. The operatives, who were on a follow up to an ongoing kidnapping investigation, led by an Assistant Superintendent of Police, Felix Adolije, went to Taraba State with investigation activities letter. They were ambushed by the soldiers. Preliminary investigation showed that the kidnap kingpin, who is presently on the run, has many security personnel in Ibi, Taraba State on his pay roll. Operatives got to Police Headquarters in Jalingo and perfected their papers as professionals. They then proceeded to Ibi Town, Taraba State, in their operational Toyota Hummer Bus. When the operatives got to Ibi town, they booked their arrival at the police station and proceeded with assistance from a policeman attached to them in the state headquarters, Jalingo to trace and arrest Alhaji Hamisu, who is wanted because he is linked to several kidnappings in Taraba State, including a recent kidnapping, where N100 Million was collected as ransom. After arresting Wadume, the operatives were heading to police headquarters at Jalingo, when gang members of Wadume, who are close to an Army Captain serving in Ibi town, called the Army Officer and told him that his friend has been kidnapped. Without any verification or inquiries, the Army Captain ordered his men along the highway to ambush the policemen. Thus, as the team was moving along Ibi-Jalingo Road, they came under hail of bullets from soldiers. The soldiers came from behind with another vehicle. As a result, the operatives’ bus summersaulted. Thereafter, two police officers and one civilian agent were shot to death by the soldiers at close range. The policemen were shot despite presenting their police identification cards. These policemen also wore police jackets. All the operatives were alive when their vehicles somersaulted. Two operatives, Inspector Mark Idiale and Inspector Abah Mathias, were seriously injured with bullets. They are now receiving treatment at General Hospital, Wukari, Taraba State. Policemen from Ibi Area Command responded to calls and took the injured and dead officers to the hospital. The Wadume, who was rescued and released by the soldiers, is presently on the run.” It is believed that Wadume and other members of his gang are hiding outside Ibi town for now.

Meanwhile, the Military High Command has come up with a press release, attempting to exonerate their men. They claimed in the release that it was a case of mistaken identity, as the soldiers had assumed the operatives to be kidnappers. However, the Nigerian Force released a stiff counter press statement, where they asked a lot of questions and demanded answers to several puzzles in the case, one of which was the demand for military to present Wadume. Force Spokesman Frank Mba, mentioned the names of the murdered policemen as Inspector Mark Edaile from Edo State, Sergeant Usman Danzumi from Taraba State and Sergeant Dahiru Musa, from Taraba State.

Mba said: “The gallant, outstanding IRT team attacked by soldiers in Taraba State consists of some of the most disciplined, proficient and hardworking police investigators in the service of the nation. Until their untimely death in the hands of soldiers of 93 Battalion Takum, Taraba State, these officers have participated in several high profile and high-risk arrests, rescue missions and investigative operations.”

The FPRO listed some of the operations to include the arrest of Nigeria’s most notorious kidnap kingpin, Evans; arrest of 22 Boko Haram terrorists responsible for the 2014 kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls in Borno State; arrest of Umar Abdulmalik, the overall Boko Haram Commander in the North Central and several of his group members; and arrest of the kidnappers of two American and two Canadian citizens in Kaduna State.

He stressed: “And most recently, the rescue of Magajin Garin Daura in Kano State, and arrest of 13 terrorists responsible for the kidnapping of the Magajin Garin Daura in his hometown, Daura, Katsina State on 1st May 2019, among many other outstanding feats.”

The murder of the three operatives and their civilian friend, has created a lot of concerns to Nigerians across the globe, the social media has been abuzz and so has several Civil Society Organisations waded into the matter.

A human rights activist, Okechukwu Nwanguma, who is the Executive Director of Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre, said: “There are many reasons to doubt the Nigerian Army’s claims of ‘mistaken identity’ as excuse for the murder of the IRT operatives. That plea does not explain why they shot at the officers at close range and continued to maltreat the ones battling for life after being shot even after they identified themselves as police officers. It does not also explain the immediate release of the arrested kidnap suspect. There is something fishy. They probably have something to cover, which only an independent and impartial inquiry, perhaps, a judicial panel of inquiry will unravel. There have been allegations of diversion of security funds, military and security agencies’ collusion/involvement in crime and sabotage of efforts to combat kidnapping and insurgency. Nigerians should insist on this matter not being covered up like previous cases. There’s the need to unravel the motive, and other circumstance surrounding this tragedy and identify appropriate measures to end interagency rivalry and also identify, isolate and neutralise saboteurs of the fight against insecurity in Nigeria.”

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has ordered the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Medicals to proceed to Jalingo to ensure the treatment of the injured officers, adding that the remains of the deceased had been deposited in the morgue. Meanwhile, the Force has commenced full investigation into the incident.

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