The Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria (CRAN), condemns in strong terms, the killing of three operatives of the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT), three civilians by troops of 93 Battalion of the Nigerian Army in Takum, Taraba State last Wednesday.
In a statement signed by CRAN Secretary Ethics and Human Interest Committee, Frank Oshanugor, the association said the unfortunate incident would have been avoided if there was synergy between the two security agencies.
However, the Nigerian Army has issued a statement, indicating that the policemen were erroneously killed by its soldiers, following a distress call that they were kidnappers.
In their demands, CRAN said: “As a matter of urgency, we demand that discreet investigation should be carried into the killing by the Joint Investigation Panel constituted by the army headquarters and the Nigeria Police, headed by the Deputy Inspector General of Police in-charge of Criminal Investigation Department, DIG Mike Ogbizi, to ascertain the actual circumstances surrounding the gun attack.
“The panel should be unbiased and must make its findings public within a short period of time. The investigation should include whether the operatives refused to stop at the military checkpoints as claimed by the army;
“Whether there was any distress call on the abduction of anyone, who and when the distress call was made as claimed by the army; who released the handcuffed suspect that was being taken to Jalingo by the operatives;
“The whereabouts of the suspect; who gave the command to the troop to fire at the operatives’ vehicle; whether the operative’s mission in Tabara was legal;
“Whether the suspect was being shielded by the troop; whether it was professional and justifiable for security agencies to to open fire on kidnappers with their victims as we were told that ‘it is better for 100 criminals to escape than for an innocent person to be killed’;
“If really the soldiers are claiming that they were responding to a distress call to rescue kidnapped victims, would they have shot the presumed kidnappers and the victims.
“As CRAN commiserates with families of the deceased policemen, at the same time, the association calls for collaboration between security agencies who are saddened with same responsibility of protecting lives and property of the citizenry.
“We pray that God will grant the families of the victims and the Nigeria Police, especially IRT, the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”