Soldiers/Police At War In Taraba, 3 killed, Several Injured.
Uhuru Samuel Adaji Jalingo
Soldiers from the six Brigade of the Nigeria Army Jalingo, Taraba State on Monday declared war on the Nigeria police killing three and injuring several others.
The whole problem started at governmen house roundabout at about 9.30 in the morning when a female police officer in mufti who was on her way to the INEC office was halted at a checkpoint mounted by the soldiers and was asked to identify herself.
An eye witness at the scene told our correspondent that during the process, quarrel ensued between the female police officer and the soldiers when one of the soldiers at the checkpoint allegedly slapped the female police officer.
It was gathered that this angered some policemen who rushed to the checkpoint to inquire why the soldier assaulted the female police officer.
According to the eyewitness, quarrel ensued between the soldiers and the policemen which resulted to kocking of guns amongst the soldiers and the police.
He narrated that one of the soldiers at the checkpoint opened fire and killed one of the policemen instantly.
National Trail gathered that the situation snowballed to fire for fire between the soldiers and the police when both engaged the streets of Jalingo in a sporadic shooting for over an hour.
It was gathered that the soldiers later mobilised themselves and drove in an armoured tank into the police headquarters and began shooting indiscriminately.
At the police headquarters, the soldiers allegedly shot and killed an Assitant superintendent of police ASP who was eating at a restaurant.
Also at the police headquarters, the soldiers allegedly opened fire at Police Commissioners pilot Toyota Hilux and smashed the glass, including the four tyres.
A police officer at the headquarters told our correspondent that the soldiers chased away officers on duty and engaged the entire premises in a sporadic shooting.
Aside from the shooting at the police headquarters, another group of soldiers drove round the streets of Jalingo in search of any police in uniform.
It was gathered that a policeman in mufti who was on his way for duty was halted by the soldiers who later shot him to death upon discovering his uniform in his bag.
Also several police officers and civilians injured during the incident were taken to the federal medical centre Jalingo for treatment.
The situation paralysed both social and economic activities in Jalingo as residents fled to their homes to avoid being cut off by the cross and flying bullets.
The Taraba State Police Commissioners, Mr. Suleiman Amodu who addressed journalists in company of the Commandant Six Battalion of the Nigeria Army, Jalingo, Brigadier General Frank Etim at DSS office, described the skirmishes between the soldiers and the police as unfortunate.
The police Commissioners said a high powered committe has been set up to investigate the root cause of the crisis, adding that anybody officer found culpable will be made to face the full wrath of the law.
Meanwhile, the acting Assistant director Army Public relations, Lt. O. Oni told our correspondent that two soldiers sustained injuries during the crisis and are currently receiving treatment at the federal medical centre Jalingo.