The acting Inspector-General of Police, Adamu Mohammed, has ordered the arrest of the hoodlums who attacked four policemen attached to the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team in Ogoja community, Cross River State.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday, said the cops, who sustained machete cuts on their heads and bodies, were in the community to arrest robbers who stole a bus when they were attacked.
He said the attack, which occurred on April 17, was masterminded by one Ikenga, described as a receiver of stolen properties.
Mba said, “Four police officers attached to the IGP Intelligence Response Team unit were seriously and grievously wounded, with deep machete cuts on their heads and other parts of their bodies.
“The detectives were investigating the case of a stolen Toyota Sienna bus earlier reported by the Master Chapel Church, a Pentecostal church based in Lagos.
“They had, after a painstaking investigation, arrested four male suspects – Peter, Ben, Ebuka and Johnson.”
The suspects, who were implicated in the crime by the police investigation, were said to have confessed to stealing the vehicle.
They allegedly stated that they sold the bus to another suspect in Benue State, who further claimed to have sold it to Ikenga in Ogoja for N250,000.
Following the confession, the detectives had proceeded to Ogoja where Ikenga was apprehended and the stolen vehicle recovered.
Shortly after his arrest, the suspect reportedly raised the alarm in his native language, which attracted his gang members who attacked the policemen.
“The officers were savagely butchered by these armed gangs. Consequently, Ikenga, the notorious crook, escaped with the stolen vehicle,” the police said.
The IG, while condemning the attack, warned that the police would not tolerate attacks on its personnel and facilities.
He enjoined traditional rulers and community leaders not to allow such attacks to take place in their domains “as they would be called to account.”
The acting Inspector-General of Police…
A source in the IRT told PUNCH Metro that the cops could have defended themselves by killing the thugs, adding that the officers took caution to avoid being blamed.
“Ikenga’s thugs hacked the policemen with machetes and sticks. The operatives had guns and could have easily killed them. But they did not do that because if any of the gang members had died, the story would have been different today,” he added.
Our correspondent gathered that three of the policemen had been discharged from the Makurdi General Hospital, Benue State, where they were rushed to for treatment.
The fourth cop, identified only as James, who reportedly sustained serious injuries, was said to be receiving treatment at the hospital.