For ‘harbouring’ suspected terrorist, Okene residents are the latest victims of police brutality
Following attack by gunmen on Deeper life church worshippers in Okene on Monday that left at least 19 people dead, the Police have embarked on a thorough search for the perpetrators of this hideous act.
Then the issue of the manner at which they go about this search rises.
An Okene resident said that the police went on door to door search early Thursday and that many people have fled the city. “They beat up residents and made arrests,” he said. “Policemen broke into my home and whipped me as I couldn’t flee because of the fracture on my leg.”
Another resident on the same account said “We had to run away from our homes because of the raids by armed policemen who went house to house.”
Meanwhile the police spokesman in Kogi state, Simon Ile, where the church slaughter occurred late Monday in the city of Okene, denied the allegations.
“Police are going around in the area (Okene) trying to get at the criminals, so there is not anything to worry about,” Simon said.
When asked if there had been any reports of violence between residents and officers, Ile said, “no,” adding that police had cast a “dragnet everywhere until the case is solved.”
In the guise of investigating violent attacks, “security agents have rounded up hundreds of people and routinely detained them incommunicado without charge or trial,” Human Rights Watch said in a statement this week.
No group has actually come up to claimed the attacks, but Boko Haram Islamists have repeatedly targeted both Christians and the security services in Nigeria.
Police said they have arrested three suspects in connection with the Kogi church massacre and subsequent shooting.