Tension in Kaduna as soldiers open fire on protesting villagers

Posted by Garba Ahmad, Kaduna | 7 March 2014 | 4,566 times

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There was tension yesterday in Manchok community of Kaura local government of Kaduna State, North-West Nigeria, following the alleged shooting of 10 villagers by soldiers.

The soldiers reportedly fired the shots from two Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) during a peaceful protest by the villagers demanding the release of four vigilante men arrested by the soldiers on Wednesday.

“The protesters comprising youths and women in their hundreds resisted the shooting and took the streets demanding for explanation from the soldiers for shooting their people. The protesters blocked the Jos-Abuja road, asking the soldiers to kill all of them before they would open the road,” a source said.

A villager, Mr. Emmanuel, who narrowly escaped the soldiers’ bullets, said the soldiers shot indiscriminately, injuring 10 protesters, including two students.

“The women and youths barricaded the road connecting travelers from Kaduna and Abuja to Jos while others converged at the palace of the chief demanding justice,” Emmanuel said, adding:

“We don’t understand why soldiers who are sent to protect us from the gunmen who routinely attack us will in-turn be the attackers of our people. This madness must stop.

Another villager, Bitrus Gwaza, said: “The soldiers arrested the vigilante men during their normal stop-and-search exercise to save the community from attacks by unknown gunmen. The vigilante men are helping the soldiers in terms of ensuring the security of the area. We were surprised when they came and arrested the same vigilante people and gave them the beating of their lives.

“The soldiers released the vigilante men yesterday morning in bad shape because of the torture, and when the community protested the soldiers opened fire on them.”

When contacted on phone, the Commandant who allegedly gave the soldiers the order to fire the protesters, Major Ochala, confirmed to newsmen that his men had to use APC to fire at the protesters because they (protesters) were becoming more violent.

He also confirmed arresting the vigilante men in error because of a false alarm of armed robbery raised by motorists who were traveling along the road to Jos.

“My men shot at the protesters in self defence,” Major Ochala added.

•Photo by Garba Ahmad shows the protesters coming face-to-face with the army armoured vehicle . . . yesterday in Manchok, Kaduna State.

Source: News Express

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