BADAGRY KILLINGS: 'Unknown Soldiers Do Am' —Army


The Unknown Soldier, emerged the villain this morning in the coastal town of Badagry , Lagos State as residents digested the stout denial by the military authorities over the involvement of their men in the killings of three police officers in the town. It was a resurrection of sorts of Fela Anikulapo’s most-sung official scapegoat in the aftermath of the burning of Kalakuta Republic in 1977 by soldiers and the beating, the kicking, and throwing of the residents of the musician’s house in Moshalashi in Mushin.

In Badagry, the UNKNOWN soldier has become the new fall guy, on whom the officials have blamed the dastardly killings on Tuesday.

Corroborating accounts said the divisional police officer of Badagry, Samuel Salihu , the crime officer, Samson Okedusi, and the divisional operations officer, were killed by men of the 424 Army Battallion, as the police officers, in uniform, made their way to the barracks on a peace mission. It was their second visit to the barracks. They never reached their destination, as they were attacked by soldiers who were already busy burning a police escort car.

Though the police officers tried to escape from the attackers, they were not so lucky. Their attackers shot at them and to ensure the certainty of their death, they macheted them as well. The three officers all died. But one officer, an ASP, Taofeek Afolabi, survive the attack. He has lived to narrate the tragic story.

Yesterday, the army tried to distance their men from the murderous attacks.

In a press statement, army spokesman, Brigadier General Raph Isa said: “Let me state categorically clear that no Nigerian Army soldier was involved in that reported incident in Badagry.

“As a follow up to the preliminary investigation conducted yesterday(Wednesday) by the Commander, 9 Brigade at Ikeja and the Commissioner of Police, Lagos command, we are aware now that preliminary investigation has not been able to reveal the perpetrators of such dastardly act. And so a joint investigation has been ordered by the Chief of Army Staff in conjunction with the Inspector General of Police (Hafiz. Ringim).

“When a staff sergeant was shot by a policeman around Badagry roundabout some days ago, the men of operation MESA mostly Nigerian Army personnel were at a very close range and rather than take the law into their hands, they only arrested those who opened the fire and killed the soldier, to safe custody. Those suspects were still being held by soldiers at the time that your papers were alleging that the soldiers killed a DPO in Badagry. They are safe. The suspects are still there.

“I want to confirm again, there were no reprisal of any kind since that day. All soldiers were confined to barracks as at the time the incident was reported. There was not a case of having a soldier outside the barracks, not to talk of accusing him of even shooting someone.”

But in Badagry, the soldiers remain the star accused.

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The slain Samuel Salihu was the DPO in charge of Ibereko Police Station in Badagry. He was reportedly stabbed to death by soldiers on Tuesday in what has been described as a reprisal attack following the killing of a soldier by the police on Sunday.

A police officer who survived the attack by soldiers, ASP Taofeek Afolabi, has narrated how the incident happened.

Afolabi, who is recuperating from the gun shot wounds he sustained during the attack, said the DPO called him on phone on the fateful day that he and the slain DCO, Okedusi, should follow him to the military barracks after they had earlier been invited to the barracks by the Commanding officer in charge of the barracks.

He said on their way to the barracks a second time, they met some soldiers close to the barracks beating up some policemen guarding a bank in the area.

Afolabi added that the DPO called the Commander to tell him that soldiers were beating policemen and the army boss asked him to drive down to the barracks so that both of them could plead with the soldiers to stop the attack on the policemen.

He said as they were driving down the barracks, they saw soldiers burning a police escort car. At this point, he said they sensed that they were unsafe and decided to turn back. In the process, their vehicle ran into a ditch and the DPO opened the door and took to his heels.

“I also took to my heels but a bullet hit me. When I was on the ground, I saw the soldiers stabbing the DPO. They were saying they should torture him to death. He was stabbed severally before he died,” Afolabi said.

It was gathered that after killing the DPO, the soldiers cordoned off the area and did not allow the corpses to be taken away until 12.30 p.m.

Afolabi wondered why the military authorities would deny that soldiers killed the police officers.

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