A Nigerian Army captain who led an emergency response team was killed in Adamawa State on Sunday, gunned down by a fellow soldier who subsequently took his own life, PREMIUM TIMES has learnt.
The Army said the tragic incident happened in Chibok, Borno State.
Our sources said a report of the incident has been filed by the Nigerian Army 28 Brigade Headquaters in Mubi, Adamawa State, to the 7 Division Headquarters in Maiduguri, Borno State.
Those familiar with the incident said Army captain, T. Mani, was on Sunday morning patrol with other officers when they responded to a distress call that Silas Ninyo, a staff sergeant, was beating civilians at a nearby location.
Upon arrival, Mr. Mani and his team members prevailed on Mr. Ninyo and rescued the civilians from him; but the situation quickly turned fatal when the service men tried to disarm their raging colleague.
Mr. Ninyo opened fire, killing Mr. Mani, authorities said.
The incident occurred at about 12:50 p.m. and the remains of the two soldiers were later deposited at Brigade Medical Centre in Yola, the state capital.
All officers around the brigade have been warned to be on the alert as whole-scale investigation of the incident continued.
The tragedy appears to be the deadliest episode of soldier-on-soldier violence amongst Nigerian troops in recent months, although security analysts believe mutinous attacks are not uncommon.
“Unfortunately, conflict between armed service members is not an unusual occurrence,” said security analyst Mukhtar Dan’Iyan. “Hopefully, escalation to this extent won’t happen again anytime soon as it diminishes professionalism and erodes esprit de corps.”
The incident report said the motives for Mr. Ninyo’s attack on the civilians and the deadly assault on his senior colleague were not immediately clear.
Nigerian Army spokesperson, Sani Usman, did not initially respond to requests for comments.
He however later issued a statement saying the army has raised a board of inquiry to probe the incident.
The statement reads, “The Headquarters of 28 Task Force Brigade, Nigerian Army, has instituted a Board of Inquiry (BOI) to unravel the circumstances surrounding the shooting incident that resulted in the death of an Officer and a Senior Non-Commission Officer (SNCO), deployed on duty at Chibok, Borno State earlier today Sunday, 12th November 2017.
“At about 12.50pm today, the unit received a report that a Staff was seen to be drunk and misbehaving to civilians. An officer was despatched to the scene with a view to bring him back to base. The officer did his best but the SNCO refused several entreaties to calm him and be disarmed by the superior officer. Unfortunately, the Staff Sergeant shot the officer dead and then killed himself.
“Their remains have since been evacuated to a military facility. The BOI is expected investigate the incident and promptly turn in its report and findings in one week.
“The Nigerian Army is a disciplined and professional force with zero tolerance for any acts of indiscipline and misdemeanor.
“The death of the officer and the Staff Sergeant is painful and a great loss to the unit and the Nigerian Army.”
Adamawa State has witnessed renewed Boko Haram attacks in recent weeks, with Boko Haram killing scores in successive attacks on Madagali Local Government Area amidst fears that the insurgents might have returned to areas that were amongst the earliest to be liberated during the 2014 and 2015 military offensive.