Chukwudi Akasike, Port Harcourt
THE Nigerian Army said on Tuesday that Mr. Joseph Izu, the 3SC footballer, who was shot on Sunday by the Joint Military Task Force operatives, was killed near a cultists’ shrine.
The Commander, 2 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Brig. Gen. Hamisu Hassan, said investigation was ongoing to determine what Izu was doing at the shrine.
Izu, who was a central midfielder with 3SC, was on Sunday, shot at a close range in Okaki community in the Ahoada West area.
It was also learnt that Izu had pleaded with JTF operatives that he was a footballer before he was shot.
But Hassan explained that Izu was killed when troops, who were on a “confidence building patrol”, moved into cultists’ hideout in Okaki village, adding that the place he (footballer) was found was isolated.
Hassan said, “Information available to the patrolling troops indicated the presence of suspected cultists in Okaki village. The troops moved in and raided the suspected criminal hideout. One person lost his life at the hideout while several others fled.
“Later, it was confirmed that the person who lost his life was a Nigerian footballer, identified as Mr. Izu Joseph. Nevertheless, investigation is ongoing to determine what he (Izu) was doing at the cultist’s shrine at that time.”
He added that the Brigade would sustain the current tempo of the operations against cultists, kidnappers and other criminals to make Rivers State safe.