By CHIDI NKWOPARA
OWERRI — Five policemen, serving in Imo State police command, including the armourer of New Owerri police division, are now in detention over how one of the AK-47 rifles officially issued for guard duties, ended up in the hands of dare devil kidnappers operating in the state.
Confirming the develpoment to Vanguard in a telephone interview yesterday, the state Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Musa Katsina, said while four of the five policemen were explaining their involvement in the sordid act, the armourer is being tried for negligent conduct.
Katsina said: “It is true that I ordered the arrest, detention and interrogation of four serving policemen of this command for allegedly renting one of the rifles assigned to them to dare devil kidnappers.”
According to the CP, all the police officers, including the armourer, arrested in connection with the sordid finding are now facing orderly room trial.
He said: “I have constituted a panel to try them. They have been given the opportunity to explain and anybody found to be involved in the crime would be made to face the full weight of the law.”
Giving a graphic account of how the police recovered the weapon from fleeing kidnappers, Katsina said the command’s Ambush Squad gave a hot chase to a gang of kidnappers and in the process, they abandoned the gun in their operational vehicle and ran away.
“When the vehicle was thoroughly searched, the AK-47 rifle belonging to the command was recovered. We traced the point of issue to New Owerri police division and that is how the armourer came into the picture,” the CP said.
Katsina said policemen are given weapons to protect the citizens and not to use it to terrorize the people they are supposed to protect.
“The four were officially assigned the weapons for guard duties. The other three policemen never reported to anybody that their colleague whose weapon was later recovered from kidnappers, was not reporting for duty” the CP said.
Vanguard investigations revealed that the four policemen were posted to the residence of a retired CP (names withheld), while Katsina has since reported the incident to the Inspector General of Police.