A police officer identified as Sergeant Rowland Tafida has been confirmed dead after allegedly being shot with an anti-aircraft gun (AAG) by a soldier, following an altercation at Makara Area of Gwoza Local Government Area (LGA) in Borno State.
The father of two who was among the MOPOL Special Forces Team deployed to Gwoza last August on counter-insurgency operations, would have completed his sixth month of anti-terrorism operation on February 8, 2020 before the sad incident which occurred on Saturday February 1.
An eyewitness told PRNigeria;
“THE WHOLE DRAMA STARTED WITH AN ALTERCATION BETWEEN THE ARMY CORPORAL AND ANOTHER POLICE PERSONNEL OVER A GIRLFRIEND.
“SOME PEOPLE INTERVENED AND SETTLED THE MATTER WHEN THE AGGRIEVED ARMY CORPORAL ASKED A DRIVER OF AN ANTI-AIRCRAFT GUN HILUX BELONGING TO HIS MILITARY BASE, TO TURN AND DIRECTLY FACE THE LIMANKARA POLICE TRAINING CAMP.
“IMMEDIATELY AFTER TURNING THE VEHICLE, THEY OPENED FIRE AND SHOT AT THE CAMP’S FACILITY. IT WAS AT THAT MOMENT, ROWLAND TAFIDA, THE LATE POLICE SERGEANT, WAS KILLED BY A STRAY BULLET BECAUSE HE WAS NOT INVOLVED IN THE EARLIER ALTERCATION. THE BLAST OF THE ANTI-AIRCRAFT VEHICLE TOTALLY DISFIGURED HIS LEFT LEG THIGH AS HE WAS RETURNING TO THE CAMP AFTER HE WENT TO CHARGE HIS PHONE SOMEWHERE.
“THE YOUNG MOPOL OFFICER COULD HAVE SURVIVED THE TERRIBLE ASSAULT, BUT NOBODY COULD TAKE HIM TO A MEDICAL FACILITY AS HE LIED IN HIS OWN POOL OF BLOOD, BLEEDING PROFUSELY AND BLED TO DEATH.”
Other police officers at the Limankara camp were said to have staged a protest against the killing of their colleague by the soldier before the intervention of an Army major.
PRNigeria quoted another source to have said, “It was the Army major that came out to beg the aggrieved MOPOL personnel. He was the one who restored order and normalcy; otherwise, mayhem would have erupted. After begging the police officers, the major arrested the ‘killer’corporal, and thereafter, the Army Theatre Command contacted the Borno Police Command.”
Meanwhile, a relative of the deceased, Mrs Zwancit Dazang, told PRNigeria the late policeman’s family had yet to be informed about his death.
Dazang said, “We only got to know about our son’s tragic death in the social media. He was dressed in combat boots, jeans and a MOPOL T-shirt, with his rifle strapped on his shoulder, when he was shot.”
“The anti-aircraft truck, which is lethal ammunition, has the ability to bring down a plane or helicopter from the sky. This is a dangerous firearm that can even destroy an armored tank. That a soldier will use it to eliminate an innocent, but a fellow security officer like him, is unimaginable.”
“A vibrant police officer, with a very young family, in a twinkle of an eye, was deliberately killed, his life wasted just like that. What was his fault? He wasn’t killed while fighting terrorists but by a soldier while walking, unprovoked and also did not provoked anyone. So, why take his life? That is barbaric, and wicked.”
She added, “As I speak to you now, the late Rowland’s wife is emotionally-broken. She has not seen her husband for so long. And both she and their two lovely daughters aged five and two years, respectively, were looking forward to a reunion with their husband and father before this unavoidable tragedy struck.”
“What has Rowland done for anyone to take his life? The soldier who killed Rowland must be brought to book.”