There is tension in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, after a soldier was lynched for allegedly shooting four unarmed civilians.
Those familiar with the matter told PREMIUM TIMES that Mohammed Abdullahi, a private, with service number 16NA/75/4272, shot the civilians last Saturday, following an argument at the Baga Road Market area of the city.
One of the victims died on the spot while the other three suffered serious injuries. They are currently receiving medical treatment.
Mr Abdullahi was reportedly drunk at the time of the incident.
Following the incident, angry civilians in the vicinity swooped on the soldier, lynching him instantly, sources told this newspaper.
The soldier was serving in the 130 Battalion, but attached to the 212 Battalion for the ongoing anti-insurgency Operation Lafiya Dole.
The development sparked tension in the Barka Da Zuwa general area of the city, with civilians apprehensive that soldiers might descend on the vicinity to avenge the lynching of their colleague.
Several civilians, fearing reprisal attacks, have fled the area, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.
As concerns thickened that the incident might lead to further breakdown of law and order, the 7 Division of the Army has sealed the area.
The area will remain restricted till further notice, authorities say. Troops and civilians have been banned from loitering around the area.
Army spokesman, Sagir Musa, a brigadier general, did not respond to enquiries early Tuesday morning.
The Borno State police spokesperson, Edet Okon, declined comment on the matter when contacted.
“I can’t confirm anything to you. Unfortunately, I don’t know you. I can’t confirm that you are a journalist,” he said.
Armed uniform personnel have been fingered in reckless extrajudicial killings of civilians over the years in Nigeria.
Just like the case of the lynched army personnel, some of the killings were found to be alcohol-propelled.
In 2015, a mob in Gombe State beat up a mobile police officer to death after he reportedly shot and killed a commercial tricycle rider following a minor accident.