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Army confirms killing three police, one civilian in error

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The Nigerian Army Wednesday night confirmed that its troops attached to 93 Battalion, Takum, Taraba State, shot dead three policemen and one civilian after they were mistaken for kidnappers.

Army spokesman Sagir Musa said the soldiers were responding to a distress call from members of the community to rescue a kidnapped victim.

The army chief said the team of police in a white bus "refused to stop when they were halted by troops at three consecutive check points", hence, 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," 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.

"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."

Musa confirmed that "four (4) suspects were shot and died on the spot while four (4) others sustained various degrees of gunshot wounds and 2 others reportedly missing."

A slightly different account of the "unfortunate" incident was shared by the police. While the police also confirmed four people dead and others sustaining injuries, police said the army freed a high-profile kidnap suspect, Alhaji Hamisu, its men arrested.

“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,” police spokesman Frank Mba said.

“The soldiers thereafter released the handcuffed suspect, Alhaji Hamisu, who is now on the run,” Mba added

Army spokesman, however, said the Divisional Police Officer of Ibi police division, which is closest to the location of the operation, was not informed by the police headquarters "thus lending 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."

Musa disclosed that the police and the army have agreed to jointly investigate  "true circumstances surrounding the unfortunate incident."


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