Alex Enumah in Abuja
Police on Wednesday confirmed they lost 16 of their personnel when they raided the hideout of bandits and killed several of them in the process.
Only few days ago the police refuted report that 50 of their men were killed during the raid. They initially said only one of their personnel was killed while another who sustained injury later died on Monday bringing the figures to 2.
However in a statement issued by Zamfara State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Mohammed Shehu, the police disclosed that they lost 16 men while 20 others were rescued alive from bandits.
“The search and rescue operations embarked on by the Police Joint Intervention Force to rescue the missing Police Personnel after the 29th November, 2018, onslaught on the armed bandits in which 104 armed bandits were killed, fifty (50) bandits hideouts in three (3) camps destroyed and recovery of over five hundred (500) cattle and seventy nine (79) sheep from the possession of the armed bandits resulted in the successful rescue of Twenty (20) Policemen alive, while Sixteen (16) Police Personnel were found dead after the rescue operations carried out by the Police Joint Intervention Force.
“Police Special Forces personnel, Counter Terrorism Unit, Police Mobile Force, Federal SARS personnel with three (3) surveillance patrol helicopters have commenced an on-going operation being strengthened to rout-out the remnants armed bandits and other criminal elements in the caves and mountains in the identified bandits hideouts in some locations in Zamfara State”, the statement read.
The Inspector General of Police in the statement however commiserates with the families of the deceased Policemen and directed that a befitting burial be held for the gallant officers.
He further directed an immediate processing and payments of the life assurance benefits and other entitlements to their families.
“The IGP is saddened with the death of the gallant officers whom he describes as heroes of the Force; their demise is a great loss to Nigeria Police Force and our dear Nation, Nigeria. The supreme price they paid for the security and safety of the Country will not be in vain.
“The Nigeria Police Force despite this unfortunate death of the Sixteen (16) Police personnel will not relent in ensuring that armed banditry, other violent crimes and criminalities are brought to (an) end (in) Zamfara State”, he said.
The police advised members of the public with any information or in distress in any part of the State to call the following Police Joint Intervention Control Centre through the following numbers 08037025670, 08033210966, 08033312261, 08123829666, 09053872244, 07082351758, 08091914752.