The Adamawa State Police Commissioner, Gazzali Mohammed, has given a chilling account of how suspected Fulani herdsmen killed the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, in Girei Local Government Area, Okezie Okoroafor, on Sunday.
Mr. Mohammed told PREMIUM TIMES that Mr. Okoroafor, a chief superintendent of police, had responded to distress calls from communities attacked by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
On getting to the scene of the fighting, he said the military asked the DPO and his men to pull out but Mr. Okoroafor, who was dressed in mufti, decided to mediate in the crisis.
As the suspected herdsmen advanced and closed in on the team, the police officers who accompanied the DPO fled with the patrol van, leaving their boss at the mercy of his killers.
“We learnt that the Army had asked our men to leave the area where the Fulani herdsmen where engaging community members,” the police boss said.
“The DPO, who was in mufti, insisted on talking to the warring parties but the Fulani herdsmen thought he was one of the Bwatiye people.
“About eight policemen were with the DPO but they took the vehicle and ran away, leaving him behind to be killed by the herdsmen.
“We have arrested the eight policemen and one Fulani herdsman. The herdsman has given us useful information about those who were involved in the killings.
Apart from killing the DPO, the police commissioner said the herdsmen also inflicted injuries on soldiers who went to quell the fighting.
On the allegation that the herdsmen removed genitals and plucked out the eyes of six of the 15 persons killed during the attack, the police boss said he was not able to inspect the corpses.
“I couldn’t see that because all the corpses were covered at the time we got to the hospital.
“I just saw the corpses on the ground. There were 11 men and four women, the DPO not included,” he told this newspaper.
Mr. Mohammed could not also confirm that people might have been burnt inside their homes when the herdsmen set houses ablaze in the affected communities.
He, however, said that a team from the criminal investigation department has been deployed to the affected communities.
The police commissioner appealed to neighbouring communities to be vigilant and security conscious by reporting any suspicious movement to the police.
He said the command would prosecute the Fulani boy who was arrested with a bow and arrows at the scene of the fighting.
Heavily armed herdsmen on Sunday killed over 30 persons in Girei Local Government Area, including the DPO in charge of Vunokilang Police Station.
Reports from the area revealed that the suspected herdsmen raided four villages: Demsare, Wunamokoh, Dikajam and Taboungo in what is believed to be a vengeance mission over an existing feud with farmers in the area.
Several houses and other property in the villages were also burnt in the attack.