After it denied last week that none of its female personnel was abducted by Boko Haram insurgents during the ambush along Maiduguri-Biu road last week, the police in Borno State on Wednesday confirmed that two of its personnel, including one woman, are missing after the attack.
The police was reacting to a recent video released by Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, in which he said his group has about ten policewomen in captivity.
PREMIUM TIMES had last week reported that 16 women were amongst those abducted by the insurgents when they ambushed a convoy of travellers under military escort.
In the video, Mr. Shekau said the policewomen would be used as slaves in retaliation for the wives and daughters of Boko Haram members arrested or killed by Nigeria security forces.
A Wednesday statement signed by the Borno Police Public Relations Officer, Victor Isukwu, a deputy superintendent of police, urged the media and the general public to ignore the Boko Haram leader’s claims which he described as a false representation of what happened.
“For avoidance of doubts, and to put records straight, there are no Police women under Boko Haram terrorist’s captivity as claimed by the sect leader.
“The Command wishes to reiterate as contained in an earlier Press Briefing by the Commissioner of Police, CP Damian A. Chukwu, on 20/06/2017 that; Police lorry with Reg. No. NPF 2677 D was carted away; Occupants comprise personnel, relations and burial party for late Sgt Rahila Antikirya.
“The Driver of the Police lorry, Sergeant Kubura Mwada, was shot and injured on his back. He was able to jump down from the lorry and escaped.
“The Personnel missing are Inspector Fatsuma Sale and Cpl Abubakar Haruna. There is no evidence in the video clip indicating that they are in the captivity of the sect.”
The spokesperson explained that other occupants of the lorry “took advantage of the space in the lorry conveying personal effects of the deceased policewoman and joined the burial party,” adding that most of those kidnapped by Boko Haram from the attack are civilians.
The Borno police, therefore, advised the media and the public “to disregard the claim(s) in the video, as well as social media reports as they are not a true representation of that unfortunate incident.”
The Wednesday statement is the first by the police mentioning the names of missing personnel after the attack.
Contrary to police claims, however, REMIUM TIMES checks had earlier confirmed that most of the abducted women were police officers and or wives of policemen.
A source within the Borno State Police Command again confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday that the policewomen abducted were more than one as claimed by the CP.
“They might say those mentioned were those officially assigned to escort the corpse, but there are many others of late Rahila’s colleagues that also volunteered to accompany the burial party”, said the source.
The military command in Borno state whose personnel were the ones providing escort to the travellers when it was ambushed, has not issued any statement since the incident occurred last week.
The Borno police commissioner had listed a military truck amongst the vehicles that were “carted away” by the Boko Haram gunmen after the ambush.