The police on Wednesday announced the killing of three officers and severe injuries on other personnel after Nigerian soldiers opened fire on a police team in Taraba.
The incident occurred along Ibi-Jalingo Road, police said. The officers were of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT).
According to PREMIUM TIMES report, Felix Adolije, an assistant police superintendent, led the officers to the state to arrest a suspected kidnap kingpin whom the police identified as ‘Alhaji Hamisu.’
The police officers “came under sudden attack and serious shooting by soldiers of the Nigerian Army,” police spokesperson, Frank Mba, said in a statement.
The officers were taking Mr Hamisu to the Command Headquarters in Jalingo when the soldiers opened fire on them “despite sufficient proof that they are police personnel on legitimate duty,” the police said.
A civilian was also killed alongside the inspector and two sergeants by the soldiers, while an undisclosed number of others sustained injuries.
“The soldiers thereafter released the handcuffed suspect, Alhaji Hamisu, who is now on the run,” the police said.
The police identified Mr Hamisu as a notorious kidnap kingpin who has been on the police wanted list for his alleged complicity in several high-profile kidnap cases, including the recent abduction of an oil dealer in Taraba State.
The oil dealer, who was not named in the police statement, paid N100 million to regain his freedom, police said.
An assistant inspector-general has been sent to the state to coordinate treatment of the injured police officers. The remains of the deceased have been deposited in the morgue.
Inspector-General Muhammad Adama has ordered an urgent investigation into “the bizarre and unfortunate incident,” Mr Frank Mba, a deputy police commissioner, added in the statement.
The statement reads in full: “The Inspector General of Police has ordered full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of three Police operatives and one 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 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”, the statement read.