Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin, Chief of Defence Staff

Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin, Chief of Defence Staff: set up the Rear Admiral Olaiya Panel

The Defence Headquarters has constituted a seven-man panel to unravel the circumstances that led to the killing of three policemen and a civilian by troops of 93 Battalion in Takum, Taraba state.

The Acting Director of Defence Information, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, said that the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, constituted the panel on Friday in compliance with the directive by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said that the panel which was headed by Rear Adm. I.T Olaiya, had a representative each from the Nigerian Army, Navy, Air Force, Police, Department of State Service and the Defence Intelligence Agency.

According to him, the Joint Committee has commenced work immediately.

The police authorities had on Wednesday announced the killing of its personnel from the Force Headquarters on covert operation by the troops along Ibi-Jalingo road in Taraba state.

The police had alleged that the arrested kidnap kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu was released by the troops, while three of their men and a civilian were killed at close range.

Army Headquarters, in reaction, described the incident as `unfortunate and avoidable’ and claimed that its men mistook the policemen for kidnappers. It said its men were responding to a distress call to rescue a kidnapped victim and exchanged fire with the policemen.

Both statements differed in the location of the shooting. The army said it was on Ibi-Wukari road, while the police said it was on Ibi-Jalingo road. Their men arrested the kidnap kingpin in Ibi and were heading to Jalingo, the capital.

The explanation by the army incensed the Police High Command.

In a counter reaction on Thursday, the police raised a number of questions that the army authorities needed to unravel especially the whereabouts of the arrested suspected kidnapping kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume.