The police in Cross River have confirmed that five of its policemen, including a deputy superintendent of police, have been detained over the alleged extra-judicial killing of suspected kidnappers in the state.
The policemen were involved in a rescue operation in which the kidnap victim – a businesswoman – was rescued alive, while all the six suspected kidnappers were killed under controversial circumstances.
The incident happened in Ikom about 12 days ago.
The police spokesperson, Irene Ugbo, said over the weekend that the arrest of the police officers followed complaints from members of the public.
“You know people were insinuating that there was extra-judicial killing. So, when the news got to us we found it that it would be good for us to investigate whether truly it was extra-judicial killing,” said Ms. Ugbo, an assistant superintendent of police.
“We are taking statements from the officers concerned, let them tell us what really happened after they rescued the victim, what led to the death of the suspected kidnappers,” she said, adding that it was necessary that the officers be detained in order for the police to do its investigation well.
“Our organisation is a disciplined organisation. We work for the people. So, when we hear their cry we should be able to find out what really happened,” the police spokesperson said.
Ms. Ugbo said that a lawyer who wrote a petition alleging extra-judicial killing of the suspected kidnappers later withdrew his petition.
But the withdrawal of the petition cannot stop the police from investigating the matter, she said.
The police spokesperson did not mention the name of the detained officers but said the rescue operation was led by the DSP.
A news site, CrossRiverWatch, identified the DSP as Nyong Obeten, said to be the head of anti-kidnapping and anti-cultism unit of the police command in the state.
The news site reports that the suspected kidnappers were arrested alive, taken to the Ikom police station and paraded before the public before they were later taken to a forest where they were allegedly murdered.
CrossRiverWatch published photographs showing when the suspects were being driven away alive in a police pick-up truck, and when they were also being paraded at the Ikom police station, and when their corpses were eventually being displayed before the public.