Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Update: Bauchi hotel raid, a case of miscommunication- army source

Published:

Some soldiers stormed a hotel in Bauchi, North-Eastern Nigeria, on Monday.

The man, who soldiers briefly arrested on Monday at Wikki Hotel in Bauchi, was a guiltless client of the hotel and not a terrorist, a military source has said.

Soldiers had stormed the hotel, Monday evening, in a commando style and accosted a man whom a witness said was unarmed.

Rumour, nurtured by the manner in which the military men stormed the hotel, had been rife that the man who was arrested was a member of the dreaded insurgent group, Boko Haram.

But a military officer in Bauchi informed PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday that the man’s arrest was a “mere case of miscommunication”.

The source, a high ranking military officer, said an expatriate guest at the hotel came to the reception and casually told the hotel staff that he needed to go take a swim at the hotel pool; and jokingly said “I hope there is no Boko Haram around”.

The source said the guest, an Arab, had a distinct accent that made the hotel staff misunderstand what he said. They became suspicious and reported to a military patrol team that was around the area. The soldiers immediately called for re-enforcement thinking they had a big catch on their hands.

“The hotel staff went and reported the matter to a military patrol team and they promptly mobilised to the hotel and even called for reinforcement,” our source said.

He said the whole misunderstanding was later resolved when the military accosted the guest and he explained what transpired to them.

“No one was arrested and the matter did not go beyond what happened at the hotel reception,” the source said despite a witness account that soldiers initially took the man away.
Efforts to get an official reaction on the raid from the Army Barracks in Bauchi failed as the spokesperson would not respond to calls made to his phone.

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