The Edo State Government has debunked reports of the presence of the Islamic State West Africa Province, ISWAP, in the state, stating that the attack at Ibillo-Igarra Road Junction, in which a police officer was killed and a patrol vehicle belonging to the state security outfit, Wabaizigan, was burnt September 22, 2022, was carried out by fleeing bandits.
The government said a thorough investigation by the state security outfits comprising the Police, Nigerian Army, Edo State Vigilante Network, and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, found no evidence of ISWAP or its operatives in Edo State.
In a statement on Saturday by the state commissioner of communication and orientation, Chris Osa Nehikhare, the government assured that it would continue to provide support to the security agencies in the state to tackle crime and criminality and also enhance patrols of the state’s borders to make the state most uncomfortable for the “decimated bandits”.
Nehikhare reiterated the state government’s commitment to the safety of lives and property in the state, and to the sustenance of a safe environment for citizens to go about their lawful businesses.Corroborating the position of the state government, the state Police Command confirmed the killing of one of its officers in what it called a reprisal attack in which its operational vehicle was also burnt.
A statement by the Command’s deputy spokesperson, Jennifer Iwegbu, an assistant superintendent of police, ASP, insisted that ISWAP was not responsible for the attack.
Iwegbu said “In continuation of our ongoing bush-combing strategy to rid the state of heinous crimes, especially kidnapping, Edo State Police Command refutes claims that it was ISWAP that carried out the attack by fleeing bandits at Ibillo-Igarra Road Junction, Edo State on 22/09/2022.
“You would recall that the anti-crime patrol team of the Ibillo division, Edo State, attacked and killed five kidnappers on 14/08/2022 at Ughoshi- Afe bush, Ibillo in Akoko Edo LGA.
“The team was ambushed by ravaging bandits while on another bush-combing mission on 22/09/2022. The Command believes this was a reprisal attack on our men who had killed five of their gang members early last month; we lost an Operative and a vehicle.
“After a thorough investigation in collaboration with other sister agencies, the Command wishes to state that the Command is on top of the sitution as the CP has emplaced measures to that effect.
“The Command’s tactical teams led by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Operations, are currently carrying out an operation with a view to bringing the assailants to book. Efforts are being intensified as the command is in hot pursuit of their trail”.
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