There was outrage in Bayelsa State, at the weekend, following the killing of two unidentified persons and a five-year-old girl by members of a police squad who responded to a distress call.
It was gathered that a police team from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad responded to a call by some residents in Ekeki, in Yenagoa over the activities of a gang of cultists in the area.
The squad reportedly raided the area at about 4pm on Saturday and allegedly started pursuing and shooting the cultists.
In the process, they were said to have killed three innocent people including a kid while another person was shot in the ribs
But the police, however, failed to arrest any of the suspected cultists.
He said: “The cult boys came into Ekeki community at about 2pm to bury one of their gang members. They were in deadly mood and went to Yenezue-Epie with the mood. But the SARS team chased them away.
“But they later re-grouped at Ekeki community and saw two girls entering the area to visit their boyfriends and they collected their mobile phones. While the girls ran away, their boyfriends called the police.
“One of the girls later came back with some men of SARS and while pursuing the cultists to the waterside, they released gun shots and it missed their target and killed the two innocent people.”
He said the SARS team immediately left the scene after confirming that they killed some innocent persons.
Another resident of Amarata area, who also spoke in confidence, said the state was suffering from indiscriminate arrest and extra-judicial killings by the police despite improvement in police response time to a distress call.
He said: “I was a victim. I was arrested for going to my house after close of work around 8pm and had to pay cash for my freedom at about 1am at “A” Division”.
The Bayelsa State chapter of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) led by the Chief Nengi James in a statement called on the Inspector-General of Police to probe the rising extra-judicial killings in the state.
James said: “We condemn the increasing rate of police killings in the state and call on the IGP to immediately probe the killings of the citizen and the indiscriminate arrest and extortion of huge amount of money from the citizenry under the guise of bail.”
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Asimin Butswat, in a statement said the police were ambushed by the armed cultists.
He said: “On October 22, 2016, at about 1730hours, policemen from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, responded to a distress call of cult attack at Ekeki village, Yenagoa. The Policemen were ambushed by the cultist.
“Consequently, a police sergeant fired, the bullet ricocheted, and injured three persons who were unfortunately not among the cultists.
“The victims were rushed to the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, for treatment and one of them later died. The sergeant who fired has been detained. Investigation is ongoing”
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