By Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
A Police Corporal, David Napoleon, attached to the Bayelsa State Command, has shot and killed a 13-year-old Senior Secondary School (SSS) student , Tomizibe Johnson, in Kpansia community, Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.
The officer, who until the incident worked with the operations department of the command, it was gathered, has been disarmed and detained pending further investigation.
But while the police said the officer shot in self-defence while being pursued by suspected cultists, residents of the area and the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), said the boy was innocent.
They also disagreed on the age of the boy, which the police put at 18, while relations of the boy said he was 13.
“The incident occurred at about 10pm on Thursday after six armed cultists invaded the home of Corporal David Napoleaon at Kpansia area of the State capital.
“The suspected and armed cultists tore the window net and gained entrance into the house. The officer, who was home with his family ran after the hoodlums and arrested one Stephen Ayama, male, 16 years and a member of the Green lander cult group .He was handed to the State Security outfit known as Doo Akpo.
“When he was coming back to his house with a plan to move his family out to a safer place, some suspected cultists and indigenes of the community went after him to attack him .
“He ran but was chased by the irate youths. He turned and shot at them below the knee level. The bullet hit one Tomizibe Joseph, 18 years, in the thigh. He was rushed to the Federal Medical Centre”, Spokesman of the Bayelsa Police Command, Asinim Butswat, said while reacting.
In a protest march to the police headquarters in Yenagoa yesterday, by indigenes of the community , they claimed that the young boy was innocent and was only standing by when he was killed by the police.
Meanwhile, the IYC Chairman of the Central Zone , Mr Tare Porri, has faulted the claims by the police.
He said: “after consulting with the police and family of the deceased boy, it is clear that the deceased is 13 years old. He and the killer policeman were neighbours.
“Eyewitnesses said the policeman shot twice from the kitchen to scare away some suspected cultists trying to gain entry. When he came out, he saw that the boys were still around.
“ There was argument and when one of the boys called others on phone, the policeman shot at knee level and the bullet hit the deceased on the thigh.”
” Eyewitnesses and the Investigating officer confirmed to us that the boy was not a cultist. He was just witnessing the argument.”
He called on the State Commissioner of Police to investigate the incident and come out with a clear report to avoid a reprisal attack against security agents.
“ Reprisal can happen when such cases are not properly investigated. Kpansia is a safe community and must be made to remain so,” he said.