One person was reported killed and four others injured after Nigerian soldiers attached to the 7 Division attacked officials of the COVID-19 Committee at Auno checkpoint in Borno State.
SaharaReporters gathered that the state Attorney-General, Kakashehu Lawal, and Commissioner for Health, Dr Salisu Kawaya-Bura, were among the committee members when the incident occurred.
The soldiers, disregarding the ongoing interstate travel ban, forced their way through the entrance gate to Borno and allowed hundreds of illegal travellers into the town.
The armed personnel, who arrived in three gun trucks, allegedly threatened to open fire on the COVID-19 Committee members.
Speaking with a journalist, Lawal alleged that the soldiers forced their way by pulling down the barricade preventing non-essential travellers into the state by the committee.
He said that the troops in three Hilux gun trucks, who claimed to be on a mission to repel Boko Haram attack on Gubio, fatally struck the convoy of the Rapid Response Squad enforcing the lockdown.
He said that the force of the collision propelled the RRS Hilux vehicle down the roadway, causing it to summersault and killing one person while injuring three security men.
“After hitting the vehicle, the soldiers pointed their gun trucks at us and began assaulting us.
“One of the soldiers looked at me and told me “To hell with democracy, useless democracy”.
“Others raised their guns at us, while one of them removed the cap of a policeman attached to the team.
“A cameraman attached to the team from the deputy governor’s office was also attacked and beaten while his camera was seized by the soldiers,” Lawan said.
The deputy governor, Umar Kadafur, who chairs the COVID-19 committee, arrived at the scene of the faceoff and called the garrison commander to meet him at the scene.
Kadafur also ordered the return of the seized video camera while condemning the action of the soldiers.
The garrison commander, who apologised for the action of the soldiers, said the perpetrators have been identified and would face disciplinary action.
The garrison commander also said that the officer commanding the soldiers that violated the restriction order said they acted based on the fact that incoming travellers trying to escape the committee had gathered at a location and the soldiers were worried that they could come under attack by Boko Haram insurgents.
Saharareporters, New York