A group of people who trooped into a filling station to seek refuge in a bid to escape cross fire after an attack by members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect on Rijiyar Zaki Police Station, lost their lives in the process.
According to an eye witness, some people who entered the station to buy fuel and some fuel attendants were trapped inside where three out of the seven people seeking refuge lost their lives. A vehicle load of soldiers drafted from a nearby Janguza Army Barrack to repel the sect’s attack on the station stormed the area and began to shoot sporadically at the station while searching for Boko Haram suspects, leading to the death of three innocent people.
Our source said that, “thirty minutes after the attack on the police station, a group of soldiers besieged the area and surrounded the nearby filling station and began to shoot sporadically at the people. Our concern was how the soldiers were at the scene to repel the sect’s attack but ended up killing innocent people without differentiating who the sect members and innocent citizens are,” he said.
Owner of the NNPC Mega filling station, Alhaji Rabi’u Sulen-Garo told our correspondent in an interview that the soldiers were shooting indiscriminately. "We wondered what was happening as they began to shoot at us. We had to look for safe places to hide but the bullets were too much on the station”, he said.
“As they started shooting sporadically, we scamper for safety. I had to crawl inside my office which was hit by dozens of bullets to hide behind a wall and lay there flat to avoid the bullets.
" As I was praying my mind went blank and thought I was saying my last prayer until the time I saw a soldier standing on top of me. He shouted at me and said who are you? I replied I’m the owner of the filling station. He instructed me to stand up and remove my dress, which I did without uttering a word”, Alhaji Rabi’u said.
“At gun point he led me into a service room where some people hid inside the hole where we service vehicles. He asked me to identify those inside or else he will shoot all of them, which I did, and said they are my workers. As at the time we went their already three of them had been killed but the remaining four were spared”.
Shortly after the encounter, one of the soldiers directed my staff to pull out the dead bodies and put them inside their vehicle which they did, and they zoomed off immediately, Alhaji Rabi’u said.
At the filling station, there were dozens of bullet holes and all the glasses of the front windows were shattered in the ensuing gun attack on the station.
One of the victims, Ali Muhammad Sadiq whose father was a former chief Librarian of Bayero University Kano was also at the filling station to refill the tank of his car but met his waterloo in the rampaging attack.
His relation, Alhaji Hussaini Mohammed Sadiq said they felt sad over his sudden death and the family is unhappy with the development but said the family have decided to leave the matter to God.
According to him, it is high time the people in authority to rose up to the challenges and check the overzealous attitude of some security men who in the name of fighting crime resorted to killing innocent people.
He expressed worries at how “trained security personnel turn the barrel of their guns on innocent people without adequate investigation to ascertain their culpability and just kill them like flies”.
When contacted on the matter, spokesman of the Joint Task Force, Lt Ikedichi Iweha said the soldiers were sent to repel the Boko Haram attack and have been instructed to maintain law and order. He neither denied nor confirmed the killings but said the soldiers were sent there not to kill but to maintain law and order.