From Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin
Edo State Police Commissioner, Mr. Haliru Gwandu, yesterday, said that ex-militants were responsible for the killing of three policemen on Sunday evening in Benin.
The slain policemen were attached to the Executive Director of Ogba Zoo and Nature Park, Dr. Andy Ehanire who was also abducted by the suspected hoodlums.
The policemen were posted to provide security for fun seekers at the Ogba Zoo and Nature Park in Oredo Local Government Area of the state and Dr. Andy Ehanire who is the elder brother to the Minister of Health (state).
Gwandu disclosed this when he made an on the spot assessment visits to the Zoo along Airport Road in Oredo Local Government Area of the state.
He described the incidence as unfortunate and promised that all hands were already on deck to fish out the hoodlums.
“It was an unfortunate incidence. We lost three of our personnel. This is the activities of the militants because of the high sea now.
“They came and unfortunately killed our policemen but we are on the trail of the hoodlums. We are able to recover the vehicles they used to perpetrate the act. We are using all the available means including the high tech to fish out the perpetrators.
“They cannot go scot free. Let me assure the general public in Edo State that we are on top of the situation and that they should go about their normal duty. All hands are on deck to ensure that the hoodlums are fished out”, he said.
Speaking on the incidence, one of the staff, Helen Juchei said the assailants came as fun seekers.
“Yesterday after I finished my normal duty in the morning, people were just entering the zoo. And at this time, my boss has not come. We usually come before our boss and when he eventually came at about 1pm, it was now my turn to take over my duty, I went to tell him that I that I was having a birthday party to attend and that was how he granted me the permission and I left for the birthday hoping to come back to assume duty later in the day.
“When I eventually came back at about 6pm, I met three policemen lying dead on the ground. I was very shock and what I saw after was people running for safety and the boss taken away.
“It was those whom we met at the scene that told us what happened.
They said the kidnappers paid to enter the zoo with a torn money which was rejected by the casher at the gate.
“When the money was rejected, he went back to get a better money to pay the entrance fee.
“At this time, their informants have already gained entrance into the zoo as fun seekers.
“When the informants have finally studied the terrain, one of the informants decided to engage our director with conversation.
“Our boss started telling him his plans to put up a world tourism day and as one of them engaged my boss in a conversation, the other one went straight to the security personnel and asked him if they have not close for the day and decided to order for drink for the officers providing security for the zoo
“This was what those who were there told us. So they bought them Heineken and as they laid down their guns to drink, that was when the hoodlums opened fire on them and killed the three police officers.
“We have not heard any information about the whereabouts of our boss”, she narrated.
Another staff of the Zoo, Mr. Zontondji Emmanuel narrated that the hoodlums shot at the police officers without sparing any of them.
“I was on duty, I resumed by 5:30pm and as I came in, I went round to inspect the animals and the visitors on ground. And after having done that, I came back to the reception where the Executive Director was sitting down and there was another one sitting at this end. There were two policemen sitting by him. So I went outside to observe the outside.
“At the outside, I saw an Audi 80 Car parked and suddenly, I saw three men coming out with guns and one of them wearing a bullet proof vest and I thought that they were normal police who usually come here for normal security reasons.
“Suddenly, I saw them running into the zoo premises which are very unusual and when they entered, they started shooting immediately. So, all of us outside started running for our dear lives.
“And I was calling on people running to give us police numbers, nobody was ready to stop because they were all afraid.
“But at the time I watched from afar and I saw that the men were going out with my director. They went into the Audi Car and zoomed away. And I now came into the zoo premises and I saw the three policemen who were supposed to be guarding the director were lying dead on the ground.
“After that, the DPO now came to take the dead bodies away. Everything happened at about 5:40pm,” Emmanuel said.