- Army HQ claims soldiers came under fire first
Victims of a military raid on a shanty community in the heart of Abuja have cried out for justice as the death toll increases to five.
The incident took place Saturday night at Church Village Dagba, Durumi, Abuja.
Initial reports said three people were killed in the raid and 146 others arrested and taken to the Lungi Barracks, Asokoro for interrogation. But residents said yesterday that five people were killed.
Witnesses who spoke to Daily Trust yesterday said 109 of those arrested were returned to the community in military trucks but that 37 were still being detained.
When contacted yesterday, spokesman of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Olajide Laleye, said: “For some time now there has been intelligence on some terrorists relocating from Gwoza to places in Abuja.
“The army carried out intelligence operations within the area between Saturday night and Sunday morning, while the operation was on those people started firing at our troops.”
General Laleye said the number of those that died in the shooting was two, not three as reported by the media.
“That kind of operation will continue. It is the duty of the Nigerian Army to ensure that Abuja remains safe,” he said.
“To that effect we are requesting that all law abiding citizens provide relevant information to the authorities.”
One of the victims, Ishaku Amos, who drives a commercial tricycle said he was sleeping in his makeshift hut when the shooting started.
He said people started running because they were afraid and in the commotion that followed three people were shot and killed by the soldiers.
Amos said he was among the 146 people arrested and taken to the Lungi Barracks where they were interrogated by the soldiers.
He said 109 of them were released on Sunday evening, and returned in a military vehicle to the village. He said they were only asked their names, occupation and how long they have resided in the village.
Our reporter met victims that suffered gunshot wounds mostly in the leg or arms. They are Musa Bello (Mai Shayi) and Ibrahim Zakariya who were shot in the leg and Abubakar Ali who suffered severe bruises on his back.
Others are Abba Bello and Ibrahim Ali, the former shot in the arm and the latter bayoneted also in the arm.
Narrating their ordeal, they claimed to be come from Gwoza after fleeing the Boko Haram only to be attacked again in Abuja.
Zubairu Mohammed, one of the community leaders who said he was beaten by the soldiers, showed our correspondent his swollen forehead saying he was hit with the butt of a rifle.
He also lamented the injustice meted out on the people of the community, whom he described as mostly the downtrodden artisans, tricycle drivers, and commercial motorcycle drivers.
Two of those killed were Ali Hamman and Abba Abbatuwa, while names of the others were yet to be ascertained.