Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
A yet-to-be-identified gunmen monday killed five policemen, including a Deputy Superintendent of Police, Mr. Nasiru Halidu, at Okobe Community in Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rives State.
THISDAY gathered that the policemen were attached to 30 Police Mobile Force (PMF) in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State who were returning to their duty post at the end of their special mission in Yobe State.
The policemen were said to have been ambushed by the hoodlums at about 3a.m. The hoodlums opened fire on the unsuspecting policemen, killing all five of them in a police van. The attack was said to have lasted less than 10 minutes before the hoodlums dispersed into the bush.
A civilian, said to be a motor boy (conductor) attached to one of the petrol tankers parked at the venue of the incident, was also hit by a stray bullet.
Okobe community, has been a stop-over point for petrol tanker and other truck drivers. It was also in Okobe that more than 200 people died in July, 2012 following a petrol-tanker explosion.
A police officer, who would not wish to be named, lamented, “One of my course mates, a DSP; his name is Nasiru Halidu, was among those ambushed and killed by the hoodlums. He was among the police officers and men, who went on a special duty in Yobe State.
“They were going back to Yenagoa after ending their special assignment. It was at Okobe in Ahoada West, along the East-West Road, that the incident happened.”
Confirming the incident, the state Police Public Relations (PPRO), Mr. Ahmad Muhammad (DSP), said the hoodlums laid ambush for the policemen that were travelling back to their base in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
He explained that the attack occurred in the early hours of Monday, adding that all the policemen, who were occupants of a vehicle, died.
He dismissed claims in some quarters that the policemen were involved in a shootout with some members of a cult group, insisting that the policemen were not attached to the Rivers State Police Command.
“It is not true that they (policemen) were involved in a shootout with cult members. The truth is that they were coming from Yobe State after their special assignment and they were ambushed in Okobe, Ahoada West LGA.
“They (policemen) were from 30 PMF and were going back to their base in Yenagoa when the incident happened. It has nothing to do with any shootout,” Muhammad said.
He said investigation had begun and assured the public that those involved would be apprehended and brought to book.