– The killings of the three police detectives and a civilian by troops of 93 Battalion, Takum, Taraba state continues to generate reactions
– A recent memo by the Nigerian army on the situation seems to have fueled distrust among security agencies
– There are fears that the two security institutions would henceforth be working at cross purposes
A report by The Nation indicates that the leaked memo from the Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Tukur Buratai directing soldiers to henceforth be circumspect in their dealings with the police over the Taraba incident might have deepened disaffection within the military and police authorities.
Buratai, in a memo signed on his behalf by Brig. Gen. Felix Omoigui, directed all troops on internal security duty as well as personnel travelling in and out of uniform to be circumspect in their conduct to avoid escalation of the problem.
“Consequently, formations and unit commanders are to educate troops to be cautious in their dealings with members of the Nigeria police in view of this development. Troops travelling on pass are to endeavour to do so in mufti,” the memo dated Friday, August 9 stated.
According to a source quoted in the report, the memo was leaked to the media by the police to create tension within security circles and continue to put the army on the defensive over the matter.
The source said unless the presidency steps up efforts to douse tension and acrimony created by the Taraba incident, the two security institutions would henceforth be working at cross purposes.
Already the Defence Headquarters have set up a joint investigative panel headed by Rear Admiral I T Olaiya and has a representative each from the Nigerian Army, Navy, Air Force, the Nigerian Police, Department of State Security and Defence Intelligence Agency.
The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu also set up a probe panel headed by an Assistant Inspector General of Police to unravel the circumstances surrounding the killings.
Even though the Nigerian army, through its spokesman, Colonel Sagir Musa, said the killings were in error, a response from the police spokesman, Frank Mba raising fresh posers for the army on circumstances surrounding the incident and the escape of a suspected kidnapper, Alhaji Hamisu Bala alias Wadume, immediately put the army on the defensive.
The impression was thus created that the killings of the police undercover agents were deliberate.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian army captain who allegedly ordered soldiers on security check-point along the Ibi-Jalingo expressway in Taraba state, to attack and kill the police operatives, has since been identified.
Police investigation carried out so far has revealed that telephone conversations between the kidnap kingpin and the captain, were about 191 within the space of one month between July 9 and August 6.
Police authorities believe that the army captain might have been providing cover for the kidnapper, who is said to have received hundreds of millions as ransom from his victims.