The police in Benue State have recovered the charred body of a suspected thief who was set ablaze by an angry mob.
The man and two other accomplices had reportedly sneaked into a primary health care centre in Gbatse in the Ushongo Local Government Area around 3am on Sunday to steal a water pump.
Northern City News gathered that the suspects were loosening the pump installed on the hospital’s premises, when some residents were alerted to the operation.
The residents reportedly raised the alarm, prompting the assailants to flee the scene. As two of them escaped through different directions, the third suspect was said to have headed to where a motorcycle they brought for the operation was parked.
“He wanted to start the motorcycle, when he was caught by some angry youths. They asked him to give information on his accomplices but he refused. They beat him to a pulp and later set him ablaze.
“It was a community leader that alerted the Divisional Police Officer, Lessel Police Station, but the suspect was dead before policemen arrived,” a source said.
The community youth leader, identified as Adanyi, reportedly told the police that the suspect, whose identity had yet to be ascertained, was rather aggressive, which infuriated the mob and made them to resort to jungle justice.
He said, “The suspects gained entrance into a fenced area on the primary health care centre premises, where the pump was installed. They tried to dismantle it.
“When one of them was eventually caught, he was asked where he came from. He became violent and started a fight, which caused the mob action.”
The Benue State Police Public Relations Officer, Moses Yamu, confirmed the incident, saying efforts were ongoing to arrest those, who lynched the suspect. He added that the corpse had been deposited in a morgue in the community.
Yamu said, “It was a mob action and the suspect had been burnt to death before the police arrived at the scene. It happened in the wee hours of Sunday around 3am. His name and address had yet to be ascertained.
“They were three; two escaped. They attempted to steal the pump when people raised the alarm. The command frowns at jungle justice. Once suspects are arrested, they should be handed over to the police for the law to take its course.”