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29 Aug 2017

Police probe killing of 10-year-old in Imo

The Imo State Police Command says it has commenced investigations into the death of 10-year-old Somtochukwu Ibeanusi, who was allegedly killed by soldiers.
Somtochukwu was shot dead on Saturday during the controversial demolition of the Owerri Main Market.

The father of the deceased, Isaiah Ibeanusi, had accused soldiers from the 34 Artillery Brigade, Obinze, of killing his son.

Speaking with our correspondent on Monday, the state Commissioner of Police, Chris Ezike, said the command had begun a “full investigation” into the killing.

According to Ezike, the case file had been transferred from the Owerri Urban Police Division to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department.

The CP said, “The case file and all the exhibits have been transferred to the SCIID. The parents of the child have been invited to write further statements at the command.

“We will carry out an extensive investigation. A post-mortem would be conducted on the corpse. We are saddened by the development, but we would unravel the cause of the death.”

He denied the allegation that the police were being forced to intimidate the family and sweep the matter under the carpet.

Ezike said the death should not be trivialised, adding that the Nigeria Police Force respected the sanctity of human lives.

Meanwhile, the leadership of 34 Artillery Brigade has denied the allegation that Somtochukwu was gunned down by soldiers.

A statement by the brigade’s Public Relations officer, Captain Haruna Tarwai, said attributing the death of the boy to the soldiers was malicious and was intended to put the army in public disrepute.

The army spokesperson said, “Soldiers, who were deployed in the scene, were stationed at the exit points of the market to prevent hoodlums from stealing goods and wares belonging to the traders."

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