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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Slain Lagos policemen ran out of ammunition - Witness


 

Samson Folarin

More revelations emerged on Tuesday on how four Lagos policemen were killed by suspected militants in Yewa community, in the Ishawo, Ikorodu area of Lagos State.

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PUNCH Metro learnt that the men ran out of ammunition and hid inside a bush from where the militants brought them out and shot them dead.

Our correspondent had reported that the cops-Inspector Iroagbalachi Godwin (aka Apostle), Inspector Pemi Francis, Sergeant Dembo Mamodu, and Sergeant Udoh Okoro- joined in an operation to rescue some residents kidnapped by some militants.

The team, led by a military Captain, identified as Mohammed, had successfully rescued nine of the victims, when they were waylaid by the militants, who opened fire on them.

The Zone 2 Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Adamu Ibrahim, during a visit to the community on Tuesday vowed to arrest the perpetrators of the crime.

The residents, however, lamented that the militants always penetrated the community through three entry points, appealing that an army barracks be constructed in the area.

A resident, who identified himself only as Lanre, said he witnessed the killings of the policemen, regretting that he could do nothing to help them.

He said, "I had woken up around 12am. I decided to check through my window if electricity had been restored. I, however, saw some armed men, pacing up and down the road.

"I wanted to challenge them, but changed my mind. I was surprised when I discovered they were over 35 and wore military camouflage.

"Around 12.30am, I heard sporadic gunshots. A pastor, whose house was being attacked, called me on the telephone, but I couldn't pick the call.

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"However, around 1am, I saw some military officers and policemen arriving in two patrol vans and an armoured tank. The vehicles' headlights were off.

"The militants, who were in a house that was opposite mine, ran out and went into hiding. By this time, the military officers and the policemen were on the road, shooting continuously to scare the kidnappers away. They liberated the captives of the militants.

"As the military officers and the policemen were rounding off, the militants, who had surrounded them, opened fire on the vehicles. The policemen soon ran out of ammunition. They jumped out of their patrol van and went to hide in a bush."

Lanre said the Captain mounted the armoured tank and engaged the militants in a shootout, adding that the gunfire lasted for over two hours.

He said the militants, in a bid to divert the Captain's gunfire, started shouting, 'police dey here' (policemen are here).

He said the Captain had jumped down from the armoured tank to rescue some more victims into the OP MESA Hilus van when he was hit by bullets.

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"That was when the problem started. The other soldiers rushed the Captain into the tank to take him to a hospital. The militants then opened fire on them. The van, where the rescued victims were, was also hit by bullets. The bullets hit the pastor, his son and wife. A two-year-old boy was also hit. The pastor's brother was killed. The militants started trooping out and shooting.

"When the armoured tank and OP MESA van left, I saw the militants beaming torchlights into the bush. They saw two policemen where they were hiding and dragged them out. The poliecmen were begging them and saying they didn't have any weapon. The militants first shot them in the legs, before killing them on the road.

"They set fire under the police van and handcuffed another policeman to the van. He was burnt to death."

Lanre said while the corpses of four policemen and two civilians were recovered around 6am, a fifth policeman was found in the bush where he had been hit by bullets.

He said the victim was rushed to a general hospital where he reportedly died.

Another resident, Adeiga, commended the Owutu Divisonal Police Officer, CSP Obiora Ejiofor, for always responding to distress calls on time.

Ejiofor also sustained gunshot injuries.

The AIG, Ibrahim, said, "By God's grace, we will get all of them. It is just a matter of time. If you have any information, don't hesitate to contact the security agencies, especially the DPO. We are here for you. Please, cooperate with us. I want to assure you that this kind of thing will never occur again."

Ibrahim later visited a new police formation, Zonal Intervention Squad, at Ladegboye, Ikorodu.

He told the policemen that the ZIS was formed to tackle militant activities in Lagos and Ogun states, urging them to live up to expectation.

Meanwhile, the Senator representing the Lagos East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, on Tuesday moved a motion for urgent intervention in Ikorodu and other areas being attacked by militants in Lagos State.

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Ashafa expressed concern that the activities of the criminals had forced many residents of coastal and riverine communities to flee their homes.

The Senate, in its resolution, asked the Federal Government to direct the Inspector-General of Police to make helicopters available for aerial surveillance, adding that gunboats should also be provided for the Marine Police in order to enable the Lagos State Police Command to effectively tackle the activities of militants in the state.