Yola / Jalingo – Scores of persons were reportedly killed in Gurin, a border town in Fufore Local Government Area of Adamawa State, during a clash between soldiers and youths on Thursday.
It happened when soldiers from 23 Brigade were drafted to the town to quell a protest by youths against the ban on motorcycles.
The youths were also protesting rampant kidnappings and excessive use of force on inhabitants of Gurin by soldiers and the police.
Sources in the town said soldiers and police used live ammunition on defenceless villagers who took part in the protest.
“Tension has been building in the area for a long time as we became fed up with the insecurity and uncalled harassment by security operatives,” Musa Mallum, a resident said.
“As I am talking to you now, there is serious demonstration going on in Gurin now due to the rampant kidnapping and excessive use of force on us by soldiers and police.”
Motorcycle transport is popular in the town for ferrying people and goods, especially foodstuffs from farms.
The ban on motorcycles was part of security measures which had been stepped up in the town, being a border post vulnerable to insurgencies and other criminal activities.
According to eyewitnesses, soldiers were sent to the town in trucks when the youths started burning tyres and chanting war songs against the police and other security forces for arresting and detaining inhabitants of the town who flouted the ban on motorcycles.
The Adamawa State government, through the permanent secretary, Ministry of Information and Strategy, Polycap Ayuba, in a statement, said the ban on the use of motorcycles was not meant to trample upon the rights of law-abiding citizens but to halt the activities of kidnappers and insurgents who use the two-wheel machine to rob and attack people.
Polycap Ayuba also appealed to the people to exercise restraints since the ban was still in force and it would be lifted at the right time.
He confirmed that soldiers were drafted by the government to put a stop to the massive demonstrations of the people of Gurin town.
Also speaking, the State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Jerengol, said he was aware of the problems of Gurin town and all efforts were being made to bring the situation under control.
Tiv/Jukun Crisis: Militiamen Kill 12 In Wukari
In a similar development, about 12 persons were feared killed by suspected militiamen at a roadblock at Byepi village, along Wukari-Jalingo road in Wukari, Taraba State.
Sources said 11 persons were reported to have been forced out of a vehicle conveying passengers from Zaki Biam to Jalingo by suspected militiamen. It was learnt that the 11 were taken to an unknown destination where they were hacked to death, including the driver.
According to a victim, who escaped, he was beaten, cut with machete and asked by the militias to go back to Zaki Biam and report what happened to his co-travellers.
The police spokesman in Taraba State, David Misal (DSP), however, confirmed to Daily Independent that only three persons were killed by unknown gunmen about 6p.m on Wednesday at Byepi village along Wukari-Jalingo Road.
A police officer, who was among the men on duty in the Wukari, confirmed that the ill-fated vehicle, which conveyed those passengers was still at Byepi village.