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Police detain ten suspected officers  in connection with Nasarawa massacre


There were indications, yesterday, that no fewer than ten serving policemen had been arrested and detained in connection with last week’s massacre of 100 security men by members of the dreaded Ombatse cult in Alakyo, Nasarawa State.

Competent sources according  to Vanguard confirmed that the affected policemen, who gave out information that aided the cultists in slaughtering the security men, most of them policemen, were arrested between the weekend and Monday.

A reliable source said, “Many arrests have been made in connection with the mass killings in Alakyo. The first one was arrested on Friday. The arrest of the first policeman led to the revealing of the identities of those who aided and abetted the cultists to ambush and slaughter the security men.

“As we speak, there are ten of such moles already in the police custody. As at Monday, one policeman, who is believed to have been part of the conspiracy to kill his colleagues was arrested in Lafia and taken to the police headquarters in Abuja.

The first two police moles, Haruna Joseph and Corporal Enugu, who were alleged to be members of the cult group, were picked up last week and paraded before the public at Government House Lafia.

A senior police officer, who is familiar with the development, confirmed the detention of some police officers by the Force Headquarters in connection with the Nasarawa massacre but declined to give the exact figure of those detained.

The source said: “It is true that some policemen, who were arrested on suspicion of aiding and abetting the killing of other security personnel in Alakyo last Tuesday, are in the custody of the Force Headquarters for investigation.

“I can tell you that what happened that day was entirely due to many factors, among them leakage of information, external membership, negligence and improper conduct bordering on lack of bravery”.

Meanwhile, fear has continued to grip residents of Eggon community, where the cultists were believed to be holed up after killing dozens of policemen and other security agents, who had attempted to access the base of the leader of the malevolent group.

The natives were said to be worried that they could be overrun by angry security agents bent on avenging the gruesome murder of their compatriots following the visit of the Inspector General of Police to the state and the vow by the governor to fish out perpetrators of the heinous crime.

A native of the area expressed fear that the masterminds of the murders might not be arrested due to what he called “the inexplicable fetish prowess of the cult, which makes the leaders and members almost invincible.”

The man, who works in one of the federal parastatals in the FCT, pointed out that it was the assumed fetish powers of the cult that made it possible for them to easily overpower the security men, kill them and burn them without any resistance.

“This cult group called Ombatse is not new and those of us from Nasarawa State are aware that the members worship and respect their leader as a god because of his ability to repel gunshots and any form of attacks over the years.

“That is why even tear gas that will normally inhibit a normal person, cannot affect him and his members in anyway. We don’t know as at now how the security agencies will be able to overpower the cult leader. Obviously, we cannot say because the man has become so powerful and respected as a god by his followers.

“Nobody who is not an Eggon can enter into that community at the moment because the cultist would easily identify and kill the intruders because they fear that he would leak their source of power and other secrets to non-initiates and law enforcement agents.

“The members of the Eggon community believe so much in the leader of the cult to the extent that they see him as next to God and that nothing can possibly happen to him,” the Nasarwa indigene narrated.

Meanwhile, the Nasrawa State Government yesterday pleaded with the widows and family members of those slain by the cultists to vacate the Akwanga-Lafia Highway, which they had been occupying in protest since the unfortunate incident.

A statement by the State Information Commissioner, Hamza Elayo Mohammed, regretted that the blockade of the highway linking the North with the South had disrupted the free flow of human and vehicular traffic.

Mohammed said, “The Government of Nasarawa State is greatly concerned with the persistent blockage of the Akwanga Lafia highway, for three days running, by widows of mobile policemen who were slain at Alakyo village of the state recently.

“While government notes that the widows have a right to express their grief over the killing of their spouses and relations in that dastardly act, it is however concerned that the blockade is not the best option for expressing feelings or drawing attention to their plight.

“It is to be noted that there are peaceful and constitutional means of expressing feelings, as the blocking of this major highway between the northern and southern parts of the country is causing motorists and other Nigerians grave hardship. This act is a gross violation of the rights of other Nigerians to move freely in the pursuit of their daily businesses.

“It is also regrettable that while these widows who are genuinely grieved express their resentment to the killings, hoodlums and miscreants have taken advantage of the situation to unleash violence on innocent motorists.

“Government wishes to assure the affected widows that it is doing everything possible to bring culprits of this act to book. It also assures that the cries of these families will not go unnoticed as their predicaments in losing their loved ones will be addressed.

“Government also hastens to warn that anyone involved in unleashing mayhem on motorists will be dealt with as no responsible leadership will sit by and watch the rights of its citizens being trampled upon with impunity,” the commissioner stated.

The Police and the Department of State Services DSS, yesterday, admitted laxity over the massacre that took place in Nasarawa State recently as they admitted 46 policemen and 10 DSS operatives were killed by the cult.

This revelation was made by the Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Frank Mba and her DSS counterpart, Ms Marilyn Ogar, at the joint security information forum on the security situation in the country, even as he said the Police have recovered 32 bodies.

The two disclosed that some policemen and DSS operatives were ordered to prevent a security breach observed but not knowing that the operation would be bloody since the report available to both agencies did not put the Ombatse cult in the same category of the Boko Haram terrorism that attacked Baga and Bama hence the level of force involved was not on the high side.

Ogar said, if they had known that the situation would be that bloody, “we would have had the military back-up but we never thought there would be such a disaster, otherwise we would have gone there with the military back up, but there was no military back up. We (DSS) sent 10 personnel and all of them were killed, four corpses have been released for burial.”

Mba who spoke in the same vein appealed to Nigerians to be patient with the security operatives who have vowed not only to bring the culprits to book but to ensure such an incident is not repeated in the country again.

According to him, “we must admit here that Nigeria is passing through one of the most difficult periods in terms of security “noting that insecurity of lives and property was not restricted to Nigeria”.

Citing the recent security challenges in the United States. He said: “We would not abdicate our responsibilities. Nigeria must also rise up, to take up action and provide support to security agencies”.

Mba accused the human rights community of turning blind eye to the mass killing of police and wondered why they have been silent since the unfortunate incident. He tasked the Human Rights Watch and others to appreciate that those who were killed were human beings and those security operatives too have fundamental human rights.

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