Rivers killing: CP Belel absolves policemen, denies reports
State Commissioner of Police, Usman Belel, in a statement obtained by DAILY POST, said but for the quick intervention of the command, the station would have been razed by the youths.
Youths of Atali community in Obio-Akpor had gone on rampage following the alleged killing of a young man by a Police officer from Elimgbu Police Station who stabbed the man that later died in the hospital.
A stray bullet from the Police also reportedly hit two other people during a protest by the youths of Atali community, leading to a mass protest and unrest.
But the Commissioner of Police in Rivers state, CP Belel denied the reports and exonerated the Police officer, saying the deceased man was not stabbed deliberately.
According tot him, “The attention of the Rivers State Police Command has been drawn by report making the rounds on social and other conventional media on the alleged stabbing to death of a civilian from Atali Community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State.
“The said report is and does not represent the true situation of what happened on 18th April, 2019, hence it has become necessary to put the records straight and state as follows:
“On 18th April, 2019 at about 2000hrs, youths numbering about one hundred (100) from Atali Community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, broke and fell the parameter fence at the back of the Elimgbu Police Station, where they set ablaze an apartment belonging to Sergeant Isreal Sunday and destroyed all his household property value yet to be ascertained.
“The youths who did not stop at that, further went to launch attack on the Elimgbu Police Station with a view to burning down the Police Station but were stopped by the Police re-enforcements deployed to the scene.
“The matter that gave rise to this incident is that, men of the IGP Monitoring Unit investigating a case of kidnapping, with the aid of technical intelligence, tracked the identified suspects to Atali Community. The team booked at Elimgbu Police Station and went with two (2) personnel from the Elimgbu Police for assistance.
“On arrival, the team identified their targets and immediately arrested them. While they were taking them to Elimgbu Police Station, the suspects raised alarm and started chanting cult slogans which attracted members of their gang and youths of the community who immediately swooped on the Police, attacked, overpowered and rescued the two suspects who were in handcuffs. In the scuffle that ensued, a Police Sergeant was seriously assaulted and knife cut injuries inflicted on him which led to the rescue of the arrested suspects.
“Seeing that they have been overpowered, the Police beat a fast retreat and went for re-enforcement. Consequently, when the rampaging cultists/youths sighted the Police re-enforcement, they mobilized again in their numbers and one of them who was with a knife attacked ASP Chukwuma Onuora with the knife, and as he was to stab him, he defended himself and while they were struggling with the knife, the boy had a cut on his stomach. The same youths took him to the hospital where he later died.
“Surprisingly, without going to report this development to the Police, the same youths mobilized and launched the aforementioned attack on the Police barracks and would have set the Division ablaze but for our timely intervention.
“Let me at this stage appeal for calm as the situation has been brought under control. I have ordered a thorough investigation into the matter with a view to bringing any person or group found complicit to book.
“I want to reiterate my irrevocable commitment to fighting crime and criminality in the state and dealing with all criminal elements, while doing this I want to strongly maintain that the Command under my watch will not condone or shield any of our personnel who engages in unprofessional conduct capable of undermining the integrity of the Force. I will not also fold my arms and see the lives of my personnel and property of the Force suffer threat of any kind, as any such attempt will be resisted in accordance with the law.
“Once again, let me on behalf of the Command sympathize with the family of the deceased and the policemen who have suffered different loses. I want to appeal for calm as I have made deployments to the place to guard against further breach of the peace.”
DAILY POST reports that in the meantime, calm has returned to the Atali community where the incident happened.
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