Controversy over recovered bodies of slain 4 marine police in Delta

•••they went on illegal bunkering deal - sources •••allegation callous, insensitive - police

CONTROVERSY is trailing the recovered lifeless bodies of shot four marine policemen by militants last Monday.

The marine policemen were reportedly killed by rampaging militants last week Monday along the Benin River.

It was gathered that the bodies were recovered on Thursday after Aruwun community by a search party set up by the police authorities.

The patrol boat on which they were sailing before death came calling was also recovered, but without its 150 horse power outboard engine.

The dead policemen were simply identified as Aghoro (the commander), Sagay, Andrew and Mejer.

Their bodies, as gathered, have been deposited at both Sapele and Warri General Hospital morgues.

It was also gathered that the recovered bullet-riddled patrol boat that was sunk by the militants has been taken to Abigborodo community under the care of soldiers at the military post.

How they allegedly died

It was gathered that some armed militants, last Monday midnight, allegedly invited the marine police team led by Mr Aghoro to strike a deal on illegal bunkering.

It was learnt that contrary to advice based on premonition, late Aghoro allegedly embarked on the misadventure with four others boarding the only available patrol boat at the Sapele Marine Police Unit.

Sources said they launched into the sea at about 2:30a.m without a back-up patrol boat contrary to the rules of engagement governing such operations.

The militants, on sighting a boat on the sea and having identified that they were their invited targets, swooped on them, opened fire and killed four of them in the process.

The fifth policeman, identified as Mr Ugbo, was said to have swum to safety, but not without bullet wounds.

He’s currently said to be recuperating at the Sapele General Hospital.

Police react

Meanwhile, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Delta State Command, Mr Andrew Aniamaka, when contacted on Thursday, confirmed the recovery of the bodies and their deposition in the morgue.

This is just as he vowed that the militants will be fished out, as investigation was ongoing on the matter.

Mr Aniamaka, however, debunked the allegation that the deceased were on illegal patrol for gratification when they met their deaths.

In a sombre tone, the police image maker described as callous and insensitive of certain persons to insinuate or conclude that the deceased paid the supreme price while in quest of illegal deals.

“We do not deploy our men to go and be collecting money from militants. Whatever duty they were, we’re investigating the matter.

I’m reflecting on how insensitive and callous certain persons can be especially on issues relating to the police.

That even when a policeman had even paid the supreme sacrifice in service of his fatherland, all that such persons can think about them is ill.

That for policemen attacked and they lost their lives inside the deep of all places, all that their mind can fathom is that they went in quest of money from militants.

But imagine that they were engaged in such unwholesome act, is that a justification for their death?  When did militants become donors to the police?

This is really unfair. We expect empathy and to commiserate with the institution that lost four of our men inside the deep, “Aniamaka pleaded.

It will be recalled that on May 7, the Area Commander of Ughelli Area Command, ACP Usman Ndanbabo, was assassinated by hoodlums when returning from an outing.