Kaduna — A senior police officer was among the robbers who went on a shooting spree and killed 23 people in Dogon Dawa village of Kaduna State on Sunday, Emir of Birnin Gwari Alhaji Zubairu Jibril Mai Gwari said yesterday.
The robbers launched a pre-dawn attack on the village apparently to free their four detained colleagues arrested by vigilante days earlier. They killed the village head, one of his sons, some neighbours as well as nine worshippers coming out of a mosque.
Mai Gwari spoke yesterday when he received visiting Governor Patrick Yakowa, General Officer Commanding (GOC), 1 Mechanised Division, the state Police Commissioner and the Director of State Security Service (SSS).
He said the police officer in question led the team of armed robbers to Dogon Dawa, and urged authorities to prosecute him.
Later last night, Mai Gwari also spoke to Daily Trust, vowing to ensure the police officer faced justice.
"Since I made my statement in public and before the governor and other security chiefs, I know what I am saying. The police officer who my people and the armed robbers call OC led the gang to massacre my people," the emir said.
"He has also attempted to stop the arrest of the four suspected armed robbers when the Dogon Dawa vigilante went to arrest them. After the Dogon Dawa vigilante had arrested the four suspects, the same OC followed them in a car and attempted to rescue the four suspects.
"In the same vein, when the gang of the armed men came to Dogon Dawa, the same OC directed the gang. He showed them the places to attack. Some of my people heard the members of the gang calling his name, OC, but he cautioned them to stop calling him with his popular name, OC.
"This is why I would personally ensure that the man is investigated and prosecuted for massacre because what happened at Dogon Dawa was massacre. The issue is not an issue of transferring the officer, it is an issue of taking the officer to court and (having him) prosecuted, which I would personally ensure."
Daily Trust learnt yesterday that the Zaria Area Command of the Police Force ordered the arrest and detention of the police officer in question.
However, the emir of Birnin Gwari said that the officer is nowhere to be found, "and nobody can sweep this case under the carpet."
Hours after the killings on Sunday, a survivor and son of the killed village head told Daily Trust he heard the voice of a police officer among the robbers who attacked the village.
"We are suspecting that (a police officer) might have accompanied the gunmen because I heard his voice. Another reason that makes us to suspect him was that when our men went to arrest the four suspected armed robbers, (he) told them that they would see the consequences of their action," Abdulrahman Ahmad said.
Attempts last night to get the Kaduna State Police Commissioner Olufemi
Adenaike or the command's spokesman DSP Aminu Lawal to respond to the Birnin Gwari emir's allegation were not successful. Their phone lines were not connecting and they did not reply to text messages sent to them.
Mr. Adenaike was present when the emir made the allegation.
Earlier in the afternoon, DSP Lawal told Daily Trust that investigation into the killings had begun and that security had been beefed up in the area.
Governor Yakowa yesterday told residents of Dogon Dawa that his government has taken the necessary steps to protect their lives and properties. He said he had to cancel his foreign trip because of the seriousness of the attack, which he added would be discussed in today's state security council meeting.
When the governor visited the injured persons at the hospital, he promised that the state government would pay their medical bills.