Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
At least two persons lost their lives during a protest at Mobile Barracks entrance road to Kuje Area Council, Abuja FCT, late Monday afternoon.
The protest, which started in the early hours of Monday, degenerated into a bloody riot around 4 pm when what appeared to be armed counterprotesters suspected to be Fulani youths stormed the venue of the protest in three fully-loaded buses and proceeded to attack the protesters.
The protesters had in retaliation fought back and within an interval of 20 minutes both camps lost one person each while several others sustained various degrees of injuries before the police and a detachment of the military intervened to calm frayed nerves.
"@QueenTarhe: Hired Thugs, regrouping to go attack peaceful protesters in Abuja.
This is happening in front of Force HQ and these thugs operate without any form of restraint, like they know they can't be opposed by the police. @Gidi_Traffic #EndSARS
— GIDITRAFFIC (@Gidi_Traffic) October 19, 2020
Tensions again heightened when the protesters narrowly lynched another Fulani youth, forcing the police to use canisters of teargas to disperse and rescue the man already battling for survival.
‘They took us unawares. They arrived on more than three buses loaded to the brim and armed to the teeth with all forms of weapons and started attacking us. Before we knew it or realised what was happening, they have killed one of us. We have to retaliate by killing one of them, too,’ a protester at the scene said.
‘We were about killing the second person before police intervened and whisked him away. You can see how they dispersed us with several canisters of tear gases. We would have killed more but those boys have charms that even cutlass cannot cut their flesh,’ the protester told Daily Sun at the scene of the riot.
‘For me, I don’t think all of them are Fulanis. Some police officers disguised as part of them, judging by the way they handle the weapon. You can see the way the combined team whisked out the one we wanted to lynch with teargas, shooting in the air. We cannot chicken out now,’ he said.