Soldiers attached to Operation Safe Haven in Plateau State went wild on Saturday in Dengi in the Kanam Local Government Area of Plateau State, shooting dead a polytechnic student, Muhammed Mado, and injuring three other relatives heading for a wedding.
SaharaReporters learnt that the soldiers placed an illegal checkpoint at Kyamsagi village and when Mado, a student of Abubakar Ali Polytechnic, Bauchi State, and other wedding attendants got to the location on motorcycles, the soldiers opened fire on them.
It was gathered that some of the young men were going for their elder sister’s wedding in Jarmai village in Wase, the Kanam LGA, when they encountered the military checkpoint.
According to eyewitnesses, the soldiers did not allow the wedding attendants to identify themselves before shooting at them on the premonition that they were bandits or kidnapers.
A witness, Suleiman Abba, said, “Mado was going for the wedding with his brothers and friends of their sister in Jarmai village of the Kanam LGA. Immediately after Ishaa prayers, they left Wase town where their sister was getting married.
“Not long after they left Dengi, the headquarters of Kanam, and were approaching Kyamsagi village, the eight of them, on motorcycles, were greeted by gunshots. It was a group of gun-wielding men on the lonely road, whose identities were difficult to make out.
“Afraid that it could be kidnappers or armed robbers, the men quickly rushed back. The next thing they heard were bullets being rained on them. Four of them were felled by the bullets while the rest managed to flee along the nearby bush.
“Mado was initially it in the leg and fell on the road. To our dismay, the STF men came closer to him and instead of helping him to a hospital; they shot him again, in the chest.”
An elder in the Kanam area, Tan Al-Gambari, demanded that justice be served in the matter and the soldiers be brought to book.
He said, “Wase youths have been known to be hard-working, peaceful and without any stain of criminality or disobedience to constituted authorities.
“It is the reason why we are calling the attention of human rights organisations, and governments at all levels to urgently intervene, investigate and bring these trigger-happy STF personnel to justice. The family of the late Mado should be adequately compensated, while the medical bills of the three others that sustained various degrees of injury receiving treatment at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Teaching Hospital, Bauchi and Wase General Hospital be paid by the government.
“It is disheartening that the STF personnel have done nothing to stop the incessant kidnappings and armed robberies that have become a daily occurrence in Kanam and its environs have resorted to killing innocent citizens for no justifiable reason.”