Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo
Nigerian Army soldiers deployed in the ongoing Exercise Ayem Akpatuma (Cat Race) in Taraba State allegedly beat a 27-year-old man, Yusufa Haruna, to death at Mbamga in Sarduana Local Government Area of the state.
Mr. Haruna Kurkal, father of the deceased, told journalists in Jalingo on Monday that trouble started when his late son had a misunderstanding with his girlfriend which resulted in a fight between them.
Kurkal said the parents of the girl reported the misunderstanding to the village head of the area, Jauro Saleh Abubakar, who asked the Sarkin Hausawa Alhaji Ibrahim Bangari to report the issue to soldiers who, on receipt of the complaint, stormed his house looking for him and his son while both were in the farm.
“On Friday March 23rd, I was home in the evening when my daughter ran to me crying that soldiers beat Yusufa to death. A few minutes later, I saw some of my relations carrying Yusufa on a motorcycle to my house.
“He was unconscious, as he was badly tortured. We quickly took him to the Mbamga Dispensary hospital where he was pronounced dead,” he narrated.
Haruna said the matter was reported to the police in Gembu who arrested the village head and the girl in question and have since brought them to Jalingo for further interrogation.
The deceased father, who said they arrived Jalingo at the weekend, said the village head and the girl were in custody of the police at the Command headquarters in Jalingo, and that proper investigations are expected to commence on Tuesday after the Easter holiday.
Efforts to get reaction from the Director of Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Texas Chukwu, were not successful as he told our reporters on phone that he was not aware of the incident, but promised to verify the information but did not return subsequent calls to his line.
Meanwhile, Taraba State Police Public Relations Officer ASP. David Misal said he had not yet briefed on the issue.
Residents of the middlebelt state had recently complained about what they termed “military brutality and extortion”, right before retired Gen. Theophilus Danjuma accused the Nigerian Army of colluding with armed bandits to terrorise the people, with the General urging the people to rise to their own defense.