The Police Command in Rivers says it is not aware that its personnel killed three persons during a raid on a criminal gangs’ hideout in Andoni Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.
The command’s Public Relations Officer, DSP Nnamdi Omoni, stated this on Monday in Port Harcourt.
The command was reacting to allegations that some policemen killed at least three innocent persons and destroyed houses during an anti-cultist operation in Asarama community on Saturday.
According to Omoni, the command took seriously, allegations brought to it on personnel involvement in extra-judicial killings.
“I am not aware that policemen invaded Asarama community, killed three people and destroyed houses. It’s unfortunate that those who make these allegations do not come to us.
“If anybody has any grievance, such a person should first reach out to the police rather than go to the media,’’ he said.
The spokesman, however, said that the police had recently carried out an operation in Andoni LGA, resulting in death of an unnamed alleged notorious cultist.
“If any individual has complaint against our personnel, such a person should report the matter to the Commissioner of Police, who will order investigation into the allegation,” he said.
Ms Ugbana Ubonmejit, National President, Federated Union of Asarama Students, had in a statement called on the Federal Government and other stakeholders, to urgently intervene in the affairs of the troubled community.
Ubonmejit said that activities of criminal gangs had been on the rise in the once peaceful Asarama community.
According to her, the police escalated the already tensed situation with arbitrary arrest of innocent residents during its operation on Saturday.
“The invasion by the police in Asarama community sadly led to the death of over three persons and destruction of houses.
“We are appealing to the police to immediately release over 20 innocent persons arrested during the raid.
“They should also evaluate and rebuild all the demolished houses because the destroyed properties do not belong to the suspected miscreants,” she stated.
The union leader said some of those in police custody were; Awaji-Moroinyem Inye, Thompson Sunday, Lazarus Awaji-Romsan, Jacob Ebieirne, Micheal Ikpoko-Irebiriene, Lambert Gilbert and David Gift.
She further said that the police must return all the property allegedly taken away by its personnel during the raid, and urged the command not to take sides in the communal crises.
“We want the police to release the body of Ete Ezekiel who was killed and taken away.
“We also demand that they bear the financial burden of those hit by stray bullets during the raid, especially women and children.
“To this end, we call on both Federal and State Governments to urgently intervene. We believe that their intervention will douse the already tensed situation,” she appealed.