Victor Ebebi still believes that his younger brother, Lucky, is alive. Lucky, 31, was one of the 12 policemen who were killed along Azuzuama, Southern Ijaw Local Government of Bayelsa State on Saturday by gunmen who laid ambush for them.
Victor was one of the family members of the victims who besieged the mortuary of the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, on Tuesday night to check the 10 bodies the police claimed to have recovered four days after the killings.
The middle-aged man, who hails from Esama in Bomadi Local Government Area, led other five members of the family to the mortuary and sat patiently waiting for the arrival of the bodies at the waterside with the confidence that his brother would come back to his family alive.
He said his confidence was borne out of the speculation that two policemen were kidnapped by the hoodlums.
“We didn’t hear it from any authentic source. It was a rumour. They told us that two policemen were kidnapped by the gunmen after the incident. I believe that my brother is one of the kidnapped policemen,” he said.
He said his brother had served as a police corporal for seven years before the incident.
Describing his brother as a good jolly fellow, he said, “If he is one of the persons who died that means he died without a wife because he is not married.
“We saw each other last year. I am waiting to see whether he is one of the dead bodies,” he said.
But Victor waited in vain because when the corpses finally arrived and were brought ashore, the police did not allow him to check them.
Everybody, including journalists, who flocked the area, was kept away as the policemen barricaded the area.
Our correspondent learnt that other family members, who waited till 9pm to see whether the police would have a change of mind, were later asked to go home as the bodies were said to be beyond recognition.
“We waited till very late in the night but we were not allowed to see the bodies. We left believing that Lucky was still alive,” Victor said.
But there were complaints by the policemen from the command against the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Kingsley Omire.
The policemen were heard murmuring in groups and questioning the circumstances surrounding the death of their colleagues and the role played by the commissioner.
They were said to be angry that the commissioner sent 50 policemen to a funeral of the mother of an ex-militant leader, the Young Shall Grow and that the policemen who embarked on the journey were newly redeployed in the state and lacked knowledge of the terrain.
They were also miffed that the policemen were compelled to travel on a low-capacity wooden boat which they said made them vulnerable to attack.