Helen Juchei, one of the Zoo Workers told newsmen that the gunmen disguised as fun seekers before they opened fire on the unsuspecting policemen.
“When I came back about 6 p.m., I met three policemen lying dead on the ground. I was shocked. I saw people running for safety. Our boss had been kidnapped and taken away. It was those we met at the scene that told us what happened” she said.
Juchei further revealed that the kidnappers paid with a bad note which was rejected.
“When the informants had studied the terrain, one of them decided to engage our director with conversation. Our boss started telling him his plans to put up a ‘World Tourism Day.’ One of them went straight to the security personnel and asked them if they had not close for the day. He ordered for drinks for the officers, who were guards at the zoo. This was what those who were there told us. They bought Heinekens and as the policemen lay down their guns to drink, the men opened fire on them” she said.
Another worker, Mr. Zontondji Emmanuel, said:
“I resumed about 5.30p.m. As I came in, I went round to inspect the animals and the visitors on the ground. I came back to the reception where the Executive Director was sitting down, with the men. There were two policemen sitting with him. So, I went outside.
“Outside, I saw an Audi 80 car parked. Suddenly, I saw three men coming out with guns. One of them was wearing a bulletproof vest. I thought they were normal policemen, who usually come to the zoo for normal security reasons. Suddenly, I saw them running into the zoo premises, which was very unusual. When they entered, they started shooting immediately. All of us outside started running into safety. I called on people running to give us police numbers; nobody was ready to stop because they were all afraid.
“But at the time, I watched from afar and I saw that the men were going out with my director. They went into the Audi car and zoomed off. I later saw the three policemen who were supposed to be guarding the director lying dead on the ground. After that, the DPO came to take the bodies away. Everything happened about 5.40p.m” he said.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Moses Nkombe, said:
“Our men are working on that, although we have not made any arrest.”
The state Commissioner of Police, Haliru Gwandu, yesterday disclosed that killers of the three cops and abductors of Ehanire were militants.
“We lost three of our personnel. These are the activities of the militants. They came and unfortunately killed our policemen, but we are on the trail of the hoodlums. We were able to recover the vehicles used for the operation. We are using all available means, including the high-tech, to fish out the perpetrators. They cannot go scot free. Let me assure the general public in Edo State that we’re on top of the situation and that they should go about their normal duty. All hands are on deck to ensure that the hoodlums are fished out” he said.