Chairman of Barakin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State, Mr. Emmanuel Loman, has alleged that a police man was among the gunmen that attacked Heipang community on Monday where no fewer than eight villagers were killed.
But the Special Task Force denied the involvement of any of their personnel in the attack.
Loman’s allegation came as the death toll in the Monday night attack rose to 10. Two of the injured were said to have died while receiving treatment at the Barakin General Hospital.
The council chairman, who addressed newsmen at the Nigeria Union of Journalists’ secretariat in Jos on Tuesday, said the policeman was identified by the villagers as Cpl Salisu Gidado, serving with the STF.
He said Gidado was serving in a village called Tatu, Yelwa, which is two kilometres away from Heipang and is currently receiving treatment at the Barakin Ladi General Hospital.
Loman said the policeman was mistakenly shot on the leg by one of the gunmen, who, presuming him dead, went away with his rifle and mobile phone.
He added that the villagers sighted the same car used by the gunmen later in the evening when they came, ostensibly to evacuate their colleague. The chairman said at the time of the incident, the policeman was putting on the same flowing gown worn by the attackers.
Loman said, “One Cpl Salisu Gidado, a MOPOL serving with the STF, who wore the same Jalabiya dress with the attackers, was identified by the victims who survived the attack as being one of the attackers. The same Salisu Gidado is presently receiving treatment in the hospital.
“The fear of my people is that the long-held perception that most of the attacks on communities in Barakin Ladi Local Government Area are carried out with the complicity and connivance of some security personnel that have been entrusted with the responsibility of securing life and property of citizens, is true.
“When we tried to inquire from his colleagues, they said they were not aware of his whereabouts and that he did not take any permission to be off duty.”
Loman called on the Chief of Defence Staff to investigate the alleged culpability of the mobile policeman in the incident.
Our correspondent gathered that pandemonium broke out at the Barakin Ladi Geneal Hospital as an officer sent by the CP to investigate the incident was nearly lynched by an irate mob who thought he was there to forcefully remove the suspect from the hospital.
The police officer was saved by the chairman, who immediately called the police commissioner, Mr. Emmanuel Ayeni, and he confirmed that he sent the officer to investigate the matter.
Media Officer of the STF, Captain Salisu Mustapha, told our correspondent on phone that the policeman was not an accomplice, but a victim of the attack.
According to him, Gidado was on pass and was heading to his post from Jos when the incident happened.
“When he got to Heipang, the man that was to convey him to his duty post asked him to wait for him at the SK Beer Palour because it was along the road.
“It was while he was waiting that the attackers came. He was actually a victim of attack and should be sympathised with rather than saying he was one of the attackers,” Mustapha said.