Three persons are in a critical condition following a late evening shooting on Monday by men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Zawang community, Jos, Plateau State.
The shooting, according to eyewitnesses, followed an attempt by the operatives to arrest a group of youths, whom police described as ‘hoodlums’ in a drinking bar that night. The three casualties are Dung Chollom, 45; Dung Chung, 42 and Henry Anthony Dokotri (aka “16”).
Owner of the beer joint, Japhet Nnadi, said upon sighting the operatives, they opened fire randomly when he tried to enquire what their mission was.
“They tied all the three to one another by the shirts and started brutalizing them, forcing them into their van like animals. I tried to ask what the offence was and they jumped on me too that I must follow them.
“I was just about stepping into the van when I heard gunshots everywhere. They kept shooting and I had to run for cover just as everyone else. Those on the van were shot, one on the head and leg, another was also brushed with a bullet on the head and another on the hand,” he said.
The Plateau State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Matthias Terna Tyopev, however, said the shooting was a raid on a notorious jungle in the community. He said: “Around 8:30p.m. the police raided a notorious jungle located at Dorowa village in Jos South local government area of Plateau where hoodlums were found smoking weeds suspected to be Indian hemp.
“At the point of arrest, there was an exchange of gunfire between the SARS operatives and the hoodlums. As a result, three of the hoodlums were injured and taken to Plateau State Specialist Hospital, Jos by SARS men.
“Two were treated and discharged while one is still on admission and two of the operatives have been keeping vigil there since yesterday. The SARS operatives also recovered one locally-made pistol with three live cartridges as well as some parcels and wraps of weeds suspected to be Indian hemp at the scene of crime. Thirteen suspects were also arrested at the scene and they are undergoing investigation,” Tyopev added.
Meanwhile, Youth President of the Dahom Dorowa community, John Ayuba, said the community has not had any record of criminal activities except a gang fight reported to the police yesterday. He described the actions of the SARS operatives as uncivilized and illegal, saying the youths have had enough of the harassment and might consider legal actions if it persists.
“This month alone, a youth activist, Simpun Dafup, was allegedly brutalized and detained by the DSS along with some family members and neighbours for allegedly converting a Muslim girl. Few days later, same DSS operatives attempted arresting a popular preacher, Isah El-Buba, for condemning Buhari’s leadership style.”
From: Guardian online