Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo
The Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Taraba State Police Command yesterday injured several residents of Mile 6, a suburb of Jalingo, the state capital, and vandalised shops and other business centres in the area.
A witness, Mr Bitrus Kumai, told our correspondent that they heard sporadic gunshots in the early hours of the day and later discovered that it was the SARS operatives that came and started shooting.
Kumai said that the police also brutalised anyone they saw as they destroyed provision stores, beer drinking joints and several other businesses in the area.
Mr Thomas Audu, a provision shop owner, lamented vandalisation of his shop as the team broke in while he was attending to costumers, and destroyed the entire shop.
Audu, who showed bruises resulting from the beating, estimated the cost of damage on his shop at N300,000.
He appealed to the state government to intervene in the matter to prevent reccurrence.
Also, Mrs Blessing Aboki, a brukutu (local beer) seller, who was manhandled by the police team, recounted her ordeals, ranging from damaging her pots to allowing costumers to run away with her money. She claimed that she lost N80, 000.
Mr Paul Kamai, who runs a beer drinking joint in the area, told journalists that the police operatives laid siege to his joint, vandalised chairs, tables, refrigerator, generator set, drinks and assaulted costumers who were relaxing there.
Residents said the number of residents arrested previously were four while three were arrested today and the team is still patrolling the area.
The police public relations officer in the state, David Misal, who confirmed the incident, said that the youths in the area had mobilised to resist the arrest of a notorious criminal in the area leading to the confrontation the took place. He, however, added that normalcy had returned to the area.