The Taraba State Police Command has confirmed that a number of casualties were recorded in the early morning shooting that erupted between soldiers and policemen in the state.
Briefing journalists today at the State Police Command Headquarters in Jalingo, the state capital, the Police Public Relations Officer, Usman Abdullahi, said two policemen were killed during the exchange of gunfire.
Abdullahi noted that two men of the command also sustained various degrees of gunshot injuries and are presently receiving treatment at the police clinic in Jalingo and at the state specialist hospital.
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The exchange of gunshots which lasted for over an hour not only crippled business activities in Jalingo metropolis, but also compelled the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to temporarily put on hold the ongoing collation of election results in the state.
The PPRO, who claimed to have narrowly escaped being shot, expressed sadness at the ugly situation, stating that “a very ugly and unfortunate incident took place between the soldiers and police this morning.”
Stressing how the police command headquarters in the state was invaded by the soldiers, the shooting which he said began at “about 8:45 am,” lasted for over an hour.
He said: “On my way to the office, I came across a scuffle between the military officers that mounted checkpoints on the entrance of the INEC office as it used to be when election results are being collated.”
According to him: “The situation started when a female police officer who was reporting for duty at the INEC state headquarters in Jalingo was stopped by a military man at a checkpoint close to the headquarters and asked for her proper identification.
“While we were trying to settle things and I was personally talking to one of the senior soldiers there, the soldiers suddenly started shooting. We were caught in the crossfire and had to run for our dear lives. The soldiers proceeded to the command headquarters here and shot two police officers and went away with their rifles.
“One police officer who was going off duty was shot and killed instantly while another who was just reporting for duty and did not even know what was happening was also shot the moment they identified him as a policeman.
“As we speak, we have gotten reports that our men who are escorting election results in various duties have been stopped at military checkpoints and harassed. They strip them naked and harass them even though they knew nothing about what happened.
“For now, the Commissioner of Police, Yusuf A. Suleiman and the Commander of 6 Brigade Jalingo have met and discussed and have agreed that a commission of enquiry will be set up to look into the real cause of this incident.”