A mother of seven, Maryam Abdulrahman, and a young man have allegedly been killed by men of the Nigerian Air Force who stormed Mabera area of Sokoto, South Local Government Area of Sokoto State to avenge the harassment of a girlfriend of one of their colleagues, Daily Trust is reporting.
Daily trust also learnt that six other people sustained various degrees of injuries, including gunshots, but had been treated at the Trauma section of the Sokoto Specialist Hospital and discharged.
One of the victims, who was treated from a gunshot injury, Suleiman Aliyu, told Daily Trust that the Air Force men, about 10 of them, came in a Toyata Hilux around 8:30pm on Sunday.
Aliyu said the Air Force men met him and his neighbours and asked them the whereabouts of the tea seller in the area.
“When we told them he was not around, they went on rampage, beating people on sight and shooting sporadically,” he alleged, adding: “We then started running. In fact, I was about to enter one of the nearest houses when one of the soldiers shot at me and one elderly woman who was trying to rush into her room in the house. The woman died instantly.”
One of the sons of the woman, 20-year-old Ahmad, told Daily Trust that he was with his friends in an area not too far from his house when his mother called and warned him not to come back to the area because Air Force men were on rampage.
He said: “That was why I decided to stay back until everything is calm but after a while, I received another call, this time around from my younger brother, who told me that Air force men killed our mother.
“I became terrified and confused. I then, rushed back home and found her lifeless body on the floor.”
Ahmad called on the state government to intervene and ensure justice was done.
“We want the perpetrators fished out and punish in accordance to the gravity of their offence,” he stressed, adding: “It is a terribly loss. We really lost a great woman who always try to guide us aright.”
According to another witness, the Air Force men came along with the girlfriend, who was allegedly harassed, for her to identify those who harassed her in the area.
“They met some youth at the Maishayi [tea seller] joint and asked the girl to identify her alleged harassers after forcing them to kneel down,” he recalled, adding: “In the process, a brother of one of the youth came to make an inquiry on why they were being punished but got a slap from one of the Air Force men in response.
“He then ran into their house, brought a machete and attacked one of the Air Force men, with other youths stoning and booing them.
“The Air force men then retreated, drove away, re-enforced and came back, beating and shooting sporadically. As a result, two people were killed while several others sustained various degrees of injuries.”
It was also said that the rampaging Air Force men also took away some people, some of whom were still in detention.
Our reporter gathered that corpses of the victims were still at the Specialists Hospital as their relations insisted on autopsy before their burial.
A human right activists, Muhammad Mansur Aliyi, said he had written a formal complaint to the Commissioner, Sokoto State Police Command, asking him to investigate the matter and bring the perpetrators to book as well as to ensure the release of those detained by the Air Force men.
When journalists went to the headquarters of the 119 Composite Group of the Nigerian Air Force, Sokoto to get their own account, they were chased out by armed officers who were at the gate.
The spokesman of the Sokoto State Police Command, DSP Muhammad Sadiq, said the police were still investigating the matter.