By Joseph Kingston, Calabar
Bandits allegedly hired by armed robbery gang have attacked and inflicted machete injuries on police officers attached to the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) during a failed bid to recover a stolen vehicle in Ogoja, northern Cross River.
Police source, who preferred anonymity, told our reporter that the team had tracked a Toyota Sienna space bus allegedly snatched at gunpoint on November 8, 2018, by robbery gang suspects identified as Peter, Ben, Ebuka and Johnson to Ogoja.
According to him, the vehicle was taken to Benue state and sold to one Ikenga for N250,000 who, thereafter, took the vehicle to Ogoja.
“When our operatives investigated the matter, they were able to arrest the culprits. The suspects confessed to the crime and led police officers to Benue where the vehicle was sold. It was later discovered the receiver and buyer of the vehicle, one Ikenga, had moved the vehicle to Ogoja.
“The officers promptly went to Ogoja and reported themselves to the Ogoja Police Division. They, thereafter, went to where Ikenga was with the vehicle but, on sighting the police, Ikenga instigated thugs, who were armed with assorted weapons, against the policemen and in that confusion, Ikenga escaped with the vehicle,” he stated.
Our source explained that the operatives deliberately refused to use their firearms to avoid unpalatable twists.
It was further learnt that the officers who, in the midst of the ensuing confusion, escaped to Ogoja station, were thereafter, taken to General Hospital, Markudi, where they were treated of the cuts.
Meanwhile, the Acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has condemned the attack on policemen.
In a statement on Tuesday, signed by the Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba, the IGP ordered immediate arrest and prosecution of the hoodlums.
“The detectives (the victims of the savage attack) are investigating a case of a stolen Toyota Sienna Bus earlier reported by the Master Chapel Church, a Pentecostal church based in Lagos. The detectives had, after a painstaking investigation, arrested four (4) male suspects – Peter, Ben, Ebuka and Johnson.
“The suspects, who were positively implicated in the crime by police investigation, confessed to stealing the vehicle. They stated further that they had sold the vehicle to another criminal in Benue state. Hence, detectives moved to Benue state with one of the suspects.
“On the arrest of the suspect in Benue state, he stated that he had sold the vehicle to another notorious receiver of stolen goods based in Ogoja. With this discovery, the detectives proceeded straight to Cross River state, where the notorious receiver Ikenga was apprehended and the stolen vehicle recovered,” he stated.