More than a month after soldiers shot dead three police officers and a civilian along the Ibi-Jalingo Road in Taraba State, an Army Corporal, Awotayo Femi, attached to 707 Special Force Brigade in Makurdi, the capital of Benue State and six others are said to be cooling their feet in detention after allegedly killing a Police Inspector, Christopher Achong in Bekwarra Local Government Area of Cross River State on Friday.
In the Taraba episode, the police operatives were led by Felix Adolije, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), of the Intelligence Response Team. They came under attack while taking a kidnap kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu, to the command headquarters in Jalingo.
Police Spokesman, Frank Mba, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) had explained in a statement in Abuja then that one police Inspector, two Sergeants and a civilian died as a result of gunshot injuries sustained in the attack.
‘’The policemen were taking the arrested suspect, Alhaji Hamisu to the command headquarters in Jalingo when they 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 while others sustained serious gunshot wounds. The soldiers thereafter released the handcuffed suspect, Alhaji Hamisu, who is now on the run’’, Mba said
Reacting to the killing, the acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Sagir Musa, said that soldiers attached to 93 Battalion, Takum, Taraba State, killed the three policemen and one civilian in error.
In the mean time, police sources say the late Achong was on patrol duty at the Anyikang axis of the Ogoja – Katsina Ala Highway when at about 9:45 AM, his team stopped a commercial vehicle for search.
The bus, a Ford Galaxy was said to be conveying passengers to Calabar and following a heated argument which degenerated to a physical confrontation, Inspector Achong was said to be fatally injured and died later at a General Hospital in Bekwarra said to be operated by the Bakor Hospital consortium.
The passengers and driver were later arrested and alongside the bus, transferred to the State Police Command at Diamond hill, Calabar, the Cross River capital, where sources say they are being interrogated.
By the time of filing in this report, the police in Calabar said the Army has not yet released the alleged killer Corporal Femi for interrogation by homicide police detectives. There was a not-too-clear indication that the suspected soldier would be released by the authorities for investigation and possible prosecution.