Pandemonium broke out in Riyom local government area of Plateau State, following the death of two locals who were reported to have been forced to dig a poisonous well at a checkpoint by officials of the State Task Force (STF).
Some of the locals were seen receiving gunshot treatments at the Plateau Specialist Hospital.A youth leader in the local government,
Solomon Dachung, who conducted journalists round the hospital, said it was most unfortunate that the very people deployed to protect lives in the area were the angels of death.
“Security men at a checkpoint near a well that has been abandoned since 1985 ordered some youths to enter it and dig for them to use. The first set of youths refused and left. Then came three guys, this time the soldiers forced them to enter the well. The first entered and could not come out, same for the second. When they asked the third guy to enter, he pleaded that a rope be tied round his waist, which was done. As he was entering, he sensed that the well had either been poisoned or contaminated by gas, he shouted that he be pulled out. By that time, the other two had already suffocated and died,” he reviled.
Dachung added: “When the survivor noticed that the STF showed unconcern about the death of these two young men, he raised an alarm leading passersby to protest. On approach to the checkpoint, the protesters were fired at by the STF resulting in the shooting of three youths.”
Efforts to speak with the local authorities failed, as the phone numbers of the transition committee chairman of the area, Danboyi Jugul, was switched off.
The Police Public Relations Officer for the State command, Terna Mathiase Tyopev, confirmed the incident saying that the force had received signals, adding that he was not aware if there had been fatalities.
One of the victims who was seen with a bullet wound on his left leg, Danjuma Kaze, said that he was shot by a Mobile Police officer, “When the youths started protesting, one officer fired at my son. When I jumped and grabbed him, he shouted that I was trying to disarm him. One mobile Police officer turned and shot me in the leg,” he explained.
He said he could only identify the mobile Police man by sight, not by name because they all removed their name tags.