Death Toll Rises to Six as Two Wounded Civilians Die in Wednesday’s Police, Army Skirmish in Taraba

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*Police want erring soldiers handed over

*Army launches manhunt for fleeing kidnap kingpin

By Chiemelie Ezeobi

Following the killing of three police operatives and one civilian by some soldiers of the Nigerian Army on Wednesday, two more civilian deaths have been recorded.

THISDAY learnt that the two more deaths were recorded in the wee hours of Thursday.

A police source who spoke to THISDAY on condition of anonymity said police were still expecting the army to hand over the erring soldiers for investigation and possible prosecution.

Although the army headquarters have reacted to the tragic incident, blaming it on absence of communication and proper coordination between the police and the soldiers who thought they were kidnappers following a distress call, the military has yet to announce plans to hand over the soldiers to police for investigation.

Some soldiers had accosted the police operatives attached to the IGP’s Intelligence Response Team (IRT), who were in Taraba State to arrest a kidnap kingpin.

The policemen had arrested the kidnap kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu, who had been on their radar having been indicted in a series of high profile kidnap incidents in the state.

They were however intercepted on their way to the state police headquarters by some soldiers who shot at them, killing three policemen and a civilian on the spot, and leaving others with varying degree of injuries.

Out of the injured persons, including a police informant, a guide and some police operatives, two of the civilians later died Thursday from the gunshot wounds sustained, thus increasing the death toll to six.

THISDAY also exclusively gathered that the army authorities, who were highly embarrassed by the incident, have launched a manhunt for the fleeing kidnap kingpin.

Multiple sources were however not sure if the army had any plans to hand over the soldiers to the police for investigation.

One of the sources said: “You know we have our own in house disciplinary system. We are conducting our own investigation and we don’t intend to cover anything.”

More details later…