Molly Kilete, Abuja
Following the killing of five police officers from the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Intelligence Response Team (IRT) by soldiers in Taraba State, the Nigerian Army has warned its personnel traveling out of their units to do so in mufti.
The army specifically directed units and formation commanders to educate troops under their command to be cautious in their dealings with members of the Nigerian Police Force so as not to be caught unawares.
The warning, which was contained in a letter dated August 9, and signed by Brigadier-General Felix Omoigui, for the Chief of Army Staff, said the killing of the policemen in Taraba State by soldiers in internal security operations in the state was capable of inciting the rank and file of the two services.
The letter with reference number AHQDAIOPS/G3/240/232, obtained by Daily Sun, reads: “In the aftermath of the unfortunate incident involving troops of 93 battalion, Takum and members of the IRT of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) at Ibi Local Government Area of Taraba State on August 6, 2019, inciting and inflammatory comments are being made by the NPF on the regular and social media platforms.
“This is capable of inciting the rank and file of the NPF to exhibit aggressive tendencies against Nigeria Army personnel. Accordingly, all troops on internal security duty as well as personnel travelling in and out in their uniform are to be circumspect in their conduct to avoid escalation. “Consequently, formations and unit commanders are to educate troops to be cautious in their dealings with members of the NPF in view of this development. Troops travelling on pass are to endeavor to do so in mufti.”
Meanwhile, there is palpable tension in both the army and police as controversy has continued to trail the killings of the police officers.
While some condemned the gruesome act, others say the outcry that followed the killings would have generated the hatred it is now causing the army if it had not issued the statement, which was described as “insensitive” and an insult to the dead.
Meanwhile, it was gathered that most military personnel now go out with civil clothes in their bags as part of the safety measures to enable them change over in the shortest possible time in the event of a confrontation with the police.