Kaduna — Residents of Kawo community in Kaduna metropolis yesterday burnt a suspected kidnapper and staged a protest, following alleged killing of an "innocent man" by a policeman. The protesters burnt tyres after barricading the highway leading from Kaduna to Zaria and Birnin-Gwari.
Trouble started when Kawo residents at about 9:00a.m. yesterday got information that there were three persons attempting to abduct some people. The residents immediately blocked roads leading in and out of the community and pursued the kidnappers, catching one of them and burning him on the spot.
It was gathered that another of the suspects was captured by the police. However, following the chaos, the police intervened to disperse the mob, shooting into the air and shooting a man in the crowd in error, while three others sustained injuries.
An eyewitness, Mr. Sadi Dauda, said: "I sighted a large crowd from afar and I immediately rushed down. Kawo residents received information that kidnappers, numbering three were operating in Sabon Kawo. The crowd immediately blocked the roads. They chased the kidnappers and killed one.
"Immediately the police got to the scene, they started shooting sporadically to scare away people and they shot an innocent person dead. Four people were shot, one died. The remaining three are in Kawo General Hospital.
"The residents protesting are demanding that the kidnapper in police custody should be released so that they can carry out instant justice on him. They said they won't leave unless the kidnapper is released to them," Dauda stated.
But the Police Public Relations Officer of the Kaduna State command, DSP Yakubu Sabo, reacting to the mob action that led to the death of two persons, said the mob reacted to a false alarm raised by one Alhaji Musa and killed the so-called kidnappers without any proof.
He vowed that the police would track down the fleeing Musa, as the command has vowed to deal decisively with any citizen that takes the law into his or her hands.
The PPRO explained that the said Alhaji Musa is into oil business and had problem with one of his business partners. He was initially taken to the Lagos State police command, where he was detained and subsequently released.
According to him, "from information available to us, his friend went to secured his bail and he was released to them and they became his sureties. After appearing before the police on two occasions, he disappeared. The sureties were later invited and asked to produce him, it was then that they informed the police that they know his residence in Kaduna, and promised to take the police there.
"When they arrived Kaduna, they went straight to his house, while the police waited at a distance. However, when he sighted them, he quickly jumped into his car and speed off. The sureties followed him in their own car and blocked him before Kawo flyover bridge. He jumped out of his car and raised the false alarm that people running after him were kidnappers.
"You know that Kawo flyover is a flash point, before you know the mob attacked the sureties believing that they were truly kidnappers. That was when we got the distressed call and moved straight to the spot, we were able to rescue three sureties but the driver was burnt alongside the vehicle. In the process, the suspect Alhaji Musa escaped and we are doing everything to track him down," he said.