Suspected Police Teargas Canister Sets House Ablaze In Calabar

By Emmanuel Unah with additional reports

Ephraim, the victim, standing in front of his burnt house.

A teargas canister suspected to have been shot by Operation Puff Adder, a team of policemen combating drug peddlers and hoodlums has allegedly set a thatch house on fire in Calabar.

The house located at No. 6 Murray Street, off Target Road, went up in flames after the police team in hot pursuit of hoodlums, reportedly fired gunshots and teargas canisters sporadically around the street and one of the canisters is believed to have fell on the roof of the thatch house and eventually set it on fire.

Francis Ephraim, owner of the house revealed that the incident occurred in the morning of 13th December, 2019 and has left him and his family of seven, staying in the open. “That early morning I wanted to go out but decided to prepare something to eat and when the food was ready I took it to the parlour to eat and suddenly there was a lot of firing by police and I heard a sound on the roof of my house, ‘kpem’ and I came out and saw smoke coming out from the place the sound came from”.

He added that when he went inside to get some water to put out the smoke he heard neighbours shouting “,fire”, “fire” and he rushed out to try to put out the fire but the flames only increased. “Somebody brought a car and we drove to the fire service and when we got there they said they have been informed of the fire outbreak and came with us and tried to put out the fire but did not have enough water to put it out”.

The distraught man said everything in the house was razed down and he was left with only the boxers and tee-shirt he was wearing while the children who had gone out at the time had nothing left.

But Police Public Relations Officer, Cross River State Command, Irene Ugbo, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, DSP, when contacted, exclusively told that she was yet to be briefed on the incident, adding further that if the victim had made a complaint to the police, it would have been acted upon.

Ephraim however maintains to that he was at the Diamond Hill headquarters of the CRS Police Command and reported the matter in the company of a journalist he couldn’t mention, to the Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP, in charge of Operations, who politely told him to first go report at the Atakpa Police Division, the Division covering the scene of the incident. While he believes he is being tossed about, he is also appealing to the Police and public spirited individuals to come to his aid.

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