By Simon Ebegbulem
BENINâ€”Edo State Police Command has disclosed that a total of twenty police officers were killed during operations by armed robbers in 2009.
The command also disclosed that 17 police officers were dismissed for various offences last year.
The State Police Commissioner, Mr Danlami Yarâ€™Adua, who disclosed these in Benin City yesterday during a press briefing on the activities of the command in 2009, said the command had been able to curb the excesses of armed robbers and kidnappers since the inauguration of the Joint Task Force, tagged â€œOperation Thunderstorm.â€.
He described his men who died while fighting robbers as heroes who sacrificed their lives for others.
Noting that kidnapping in the state had dropped in the last three months due to the hard work of the intelligence unit of the command, Yarâ€™Adua stated that â€œdue to the activities of these people, men of the command were trained to respond and counter the activities of kidnappers.
â€œDue to their efforts, a total of 126 suspected kidnappers were arrested, 85 were charged to court while about 40 of them are still in our custody.â€
Yarâ€™Adua, who boasted that his men recorded a major success during Akoko Edo re-run election last August,Â asserted that â€œfor once, politicians were taught that no one is above the law.
â€œWe have set a record that the police cannot be substituted by criminals who masquerade themselves as thugs.
â€œA total of 26 firearms of various calibers were recovered and over 40 suspects were arrested during the re-run election.â€
The commissioner further warned politicians to â€œstay clear from violence in the forthcoming re-run election in Etsako Central scheduled for 23 January 2010.
â€œWe have received assurances from the Inspector General of Police who will assist the command in whatever capacity it may require.
â€œLet me again warn that nobody should tempt the will of the command. Any attempt to do so will be met with appropriate resistanceâ€.
He commended Edo State government for its support in providing logistics for the police in the state, stressing that the command would continue to partner with the state government to ensure that the current onslaught against crime and criminality was sustained.