Five policemen mistaken for kidnappers almost lost their lives on Thursday after attacked by a mob at the popular Gwari Market in Minna, the Niger State capital.
The police officers, who were armed with AK-47 rifles, stormed the market around 9 am, went straight into the shop of a popular trader and forced him into their waiting vehicle at gunpoint.
The policemen then went into another shop to pick-up the second trader, which sent an impression to the traders that they were kidnappers.
That led to an altercation and the policemen shot into the air, but the traders locked the main entry and exit points of the market to prevent the men from escaping.
Youths, who were supported by the local vigilantes, succeeded in disarming the policemen after which the guards in the market took them into custody.
The men were later handed over to policemen from the Paiko Road Police Station, who arrived the market moments later.
Speaking on the incident, the spokesperson for the Niger State Police Command, Muhammad Abubakar, said the “armed men are policemen from Lagos.”
Abubakar said they reported at the command headquarters that they were in the state on a special assignment but did not say why they were not accompanied to the market by the local policemen.
The market remained deserted while men of the vigilante group mounted security at all the entry points.