Days after the Nigeria Police Force announced that its officers were attacked by Fulani militia in Zamfara State, with one officer killed, the family of a missing officer have come out to counter the claim.
A family member, who spoke to SaharaReporters, maintained that dozens of police officers were killed in the ambush.
DCP Jimoh Moshood, Force Public Relations Officer, had said the Police team was attacked at Mahanga forest in Zamfara. He disclosed that the Police killed 104 bandits, while an officer was killed and 12 persons were injured.
“The Police Joint Operation Team at about 1600Hrs, 29th November, 2018, repelled attacks from armed bandits at Mahanga Forest in Birnin Mogaji LGA of Zamfara State, and in the process killed one hundred and four (104) bandits, destroyed over fifty (50) bandits' hideouts in three (3) camps, recovered over five hundred (500) cattle and seventy-nine (79) sheep from the bandits. Unfortunately, we lost a policeman and twelve (12) policemen were wounded during the attacks. The Police team has restored normalcy and peace in the affected areas,” DCP Moshood had said.
However, a family member of one of the officers deployed with the team, Sergeant Sunday Itodo, countered the claim, insisting that Itodo's whereabouts was unknown and the Police are yet to state whether he is dead or alive.
Yemi Itodo, the Sergeant's brother, who spoke with our correspondent, also revealed that the Police lost more than 12 officers in the ambush.
He said the family got information that Sergeant Itodo was shot during the attack, as well as a colleague who tried to rescue him.
“The family got information on Sunday morning by a source at the operation that our brother, Sergeant Itodo, was shot during the attack and a colleague who attempted to rescue him by taking him to a nearby bush path, was also shot,” he said.
He, however, mentioned that they have been unable to get in touch with Sergeant Itodo, as his phone was switched off. It was also gathered that the bodies of the officers shot by the armed bandits were yet to be recovered by the Police.
"We learnt that dozens of policemen were killed in the ambush. My brother and all other officers shot were still under hostage in the forest, as efforts by both the Nigeria Police and Army to recover bodies became fruitless,” he added.
The family questioned the Force on why the casualty figure was pegged at just one, and they urged the Inspector General of Police to “please intensify efforts to rescue our brother and hopefully alive too".
“We don't want to believe he is dead. He can't just abandon his young wife and four kids at this moment. My brother will not die. I only want the IGP to act fast," Itodo said in tears.
Sergeant Itodo, a member of Mopol 15 Kwara, according to the family, has been in the Special Mobile Force of the Federal Government for almost eight years and was part of the foreign peacekeeping mission in Somalia in 2013 and returned with an award for gallantry.
He has also been part of the Special Forces fighting insurgency for many years in Borno, Kaduna, Sokoto, with his latest posting in Jos before he was deployed to Zamfara three weeks ago.