31 January 2013

Nigeria: Soldier Shoots Man At Suleja

A man said to have a record of mental imbalance was allegedly shot by a soldier attached to a Joint Task Force in Suleja, Niger State.

The incident happened when the victim was said to be rescuing somebody, who was undergoing punishment from the officer over an alleged misconduct.

Muhammad Sani, a carpenter by profession of Unguwar Bayan Asibiti, Suleja, who is now recuperating at the Suleja General Hospital, had his two legs shot by an angry soldier about 50 metres away from a military checkpoint in the area.

Speaking with our reporter on his hospital bed, Muhammad said he was eating in a local restaurant close to the checkpoint when he saw a man lifting a heavy wood as punishment from JTF officials and he tried to intervene out of sympathy.

According to him, he approached the solder and pleaded with him to pardon the man after observing sign of tiredness by the man as his body was shaking.

"Then the officer asked the man to go, only to turn over to me and accuse me of attempting to snatch his gun. 'Go ahead and take it'. But I told him I was not trying to take his gun but justly pleading with him to pardon the man and that is all," he said.

Sani said the military man dragged him inside a cage where they normally keep erring people in the course of their duty.

"He cocked his gun in the process and threatened to shoot me. My colleague and other spectators as well as another military man who seems to be his senior, appealed to him not to shoot but he went ahead and shot me on my right leg. The bullet penetrated and hit my other leg too," he said.

The victim's brother, Salisu Hussaini, told our reporter at the hospital that he suffers from a mental illness, which does not stop him from going out in search of a means of livelihood.

A witness, who craved anonymity, said the victim went unconscious after the incidence and was rushed to Suleja General Hospital in a military van about thirty minutes later.

Also speaking, a nurse at the hospital said the victim is responding to the treatment, adding that the result of x-ray conducted on the victim would soon be out for further examination.

Suleja Police Area Commander, Lawan Jimeta, said the command is yet to be informed on the incident but promised to get back to our reporter after making an inquiry into the matter.

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