By Alex Enumah
Abuja — The Nigerian Police Force Wednesday confirmed it lost 16 of its personnel when it raided the hideout of bandits in Zamfara State and killed several of them in the process.
The police had refuted reports that 50 of its men were killed during the raid, insisting that only one was killed while another who sustained injury later died on Monday, bringing the figure to two.
However in a statement issued yesterday by Zamfara State Police Public Relations Officer, Mohammed Shehu, the police disclosed that it lost 16 men while 20 others were rescued alive from bandits.
“The search and rescue operations embarked on by the Police Joint Intervention Force to rescue the missing Police personnel after the November 29, 2018, onslaught on the bandits in which 104 bandits were killed, 50 bandits hideouts in three camps destroyed and recovery of over 500 cattle and 79 sheep from their possession resulted in the successful rescue of 20 policemen alive, while 16 police personnel were found dead after the rescue operations carried out by the Police Joint Intervention Force.
“Police Special Forces personnel, Counter Terrorism Unit, Police Mobile Force, Federal SARS personnel with three surveillance patrol helicopters have commenced an on-going operation being strengthened to rout-out the remaining bandits and other criminal elements in the caves and mountains in the identified hideouts in some locations in Zamfara State”, the statement said.
The Inspector General of Police, in the statement however, commiserated with the families of the deceased policemen and directed that a befitting burial be held for the gallant officers.
He further directed an immediate processing and payments of the life assurance benefits and other entitlements to their families.
“The IG is saddened by the death of the gallant officers whom he describes as heroes of the Force; their demise is a great loss to Nigeria Police Force and our dear country, Nigeria. The supreme price they paid for the security and safety of the country will not be in vain.
“The Nigeria Police Force despite this unfortunate death of the 16 police personnel will not relent in ensuring that banditry, other violent crimes and criminalities are brought to a halt in Zamfara State”, he said.