Nigeria Soldiers, Police Turn Guns On Each Other

Photo: VOA News
(file photo).

Abuja — Government has intervened to quell a war of words between soldiers and police after the army shot dead three law enforcers during operations against kidnappers northeast of Nigeria.

Several police officers were injured and a civilian killed as soldiers purportedly mistook police for kidnappers during ongoing crackdowns in the Taraba State.

The army and police have deployed extra personnel in the volatile state.

Police had initially made a breakthrough with the arrest of one of the most-feared kidnap kingpins, Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume who is allegedly a millionaire kidnapper.

In a strange turn of events, the army allegedly treated the arrested suspect as a kidnap victim and the police officers as kidnappers, hence opened fire. Wadume mysteriously fled during the altercation.

The army, in a statement, reported the police officers had failed to identify themselves.

Police have dismissed the claim.

The Nigerian Police Force lashed the army as "insensitive, disrespectful and unpatriotic" after the latter's press release described the police officers as suspected kidnappers, despite the slain officers being on duty.

Police said its members were "gruesomely murdered."

"... The Nigeria Police Force would naturally have kept quiet, but it has become imperative to set the record straight by addressing the obvious distortion of facts inherent in the press release by the Nigerian Army," Frank Mba, police spokesperson stated.

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered a probe into the killing of the police officers.

The investigation panel has representatives from the air force, army, navy, police and intelligence services.

"The joint committee has commenced work immediately," Onyema Nwachkwu, Defence spokesperson, said.

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