13 Female Police Trainees, 22 Male Missing After Gwoza Police School Attack

Nigeria Political Economist, August 25, 2014

No fewer than 13 female Police trainees, and 22 male counterparts have been confirmed missing, after gunmen suspected to be members of the dreaded Islamic sect, Boko Haram, launched a deadly attack on Nigeria Police Force Training School, located in Gwoza, Borno State.

Though both the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Suleiman Abba and the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO) Emmanuel Ojukwu, neither confirmed nor denied the story of the missing cops in a telephone interview with our Correspondent, but a senior Police officer in charge of security at the School confirmed the incident.

He however, allayed the fear that the Policemen must have been captured by the insurgents and taken hostage, according to him, “I suspect they escaped and are hiding somewhere. They will soon return to the School. From what they told us when we arrived here, the attack was deadly, so the only option was for them to run for their dear lives.”

He added that some 35 policemen were still yet to be accounted for. “Of this number, 13 are female, while 22 male. Investigation has since commenced, according to the directive of IGP, and we would get to the root of it all.”

A statement signed by the FPRO, Emmanuel Ojukwu  read: ” in response to the attack by Boko Haram insurgents on the Gwoza Training camp of the Nigeria Police Mobile Force (PMF), Acting Inspector-General of Police Suleiman Abba has ordered the tightening of security around police facilities in the country, in addition to efforts to further protect life and properties.”

A statement by police spokesman Emmanuel Ojukwu recalled that an attack on the camp on August 7 was repelled by the Police, but that a fresh offensive was launched on August 20 in which the policemen on duty engaged them in a fierce battle.

“The search and rescue party launched immediately has located and brought to safety all police officers in the Training College at the time of attack,” he said.  “So far, thirty-five policemen who are still missing from the facility as a result of the latest attack are being searched for with very promising prospect of locating them.”

The IGP enjoined all Nigerians to remain calm and to join hands with the security forces in the collective fight against insurgency, restating his determination to work closely with other security agencies to stem the tide of terror in the country.

It would be recalled that police authority at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, had earlier confirmed that some gunmen launched a deadly attack at one of its formations at Gwoza, in the troubled Borno State of North East Nigeria, but that the Force was yet to establish contact with management of the School since Wednesday.

Speaking in a telephone interview, the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO) Emmanuel Ojukwu, told our Correspondent that it was difficult contacting the Commandant of the College, since the attack occurred.

“The attack affected communication to the School, and you know where the School is located is a little isolated area, but we have been in touch with the Commissioner of Police (CP) Borno State in Maiduguri, and he has been able to tell us the little he knows. But the best person that would have given us the true position of things is the Commandant of the college, whom we are still trying to reach.”

Similarly, the Inspector General of Police (IGP)  Abba, stated that he was yet to be briefed on the situation on ground at the college. He could not also say whether or not there was any casualty and how many.

“I cannot tell you whether any of the Policemen on training there was killed or not as we cannot get the Commandant either through his telephone or radio. But I have directed the Commissioner of Police, Borno and Yobe States respectively to get me detailed report of the situation on ground there”

However, a Police source had earlier told our Correspondent that the college had five units of police officers in training at the time of  attack.

It was gathered that each unit had 59 trainees and a unit commander. At the college there were two mobile police (MOPOL) units from Nasarawa and Gombe States and a mobile police unit from Abuja. Two other units from Zamfara State were also at the college during the attack.

The sources disclosed that numerous trainees were killed or seriously injured by the militants who carried out the assault. “Those who survived the attack had to run to the mountains nearby,” said the source, adding that ‘some of the trainees managed to escape to Adamawa State’.

The surging militants blew up an armored tank stationed at the gate of the training camp before gaining entrance into the school and wreaking havoc, according to the sources.