The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has demanded swift justice for a killer soldier who stabbed a private security officer to death.
Tension has remained in Barkinladi Local Government Area of Plateau State days after the attack by a member of the military task force.
Pam Chollom, a security officer with Operation Rainbow, a Plateau State government-owned security outfit, was stabbed to death by a soldier at a checkpoint.
The Special Task Force, STF’s media officer, Ikedichi Iweha, in an interview, said the officer who stabbed the private security personnel has been arrested and detained at the force headquarters in Jos.
The STF was also accused of shooting three other youth, who protested the killing of Mr. Chollom on Monday.
However, Mr. Iweha denied the shooting of the youth.
Mr. Iweha, a captain in the Nigerian Army, said the STF members at Sector 7 used “minimal force” to dispel the protesting youth, who, he alleged, attempted setting the entire headquarters of the Sector 7 ablaze.
“The youth, in the early hours of (Monday), mobilized themselves to the Sector 7 in Barkinladi, destroyed our gates, vandalized two of our operational vehicles and burned our oil bunker,” he said. “It was at that point that our troops had to use minimal force to dispel the protesters. In the process, one person was injured.”
The protesting youth allegedly trooped to the streets and barricaded the Barkinladi-Mangu highway and impeded motorists traveling to central and southern Plateau state. The road was barricaded till noon, Monday.
Mr. Iweha described the death of Mr. Chollom as unfortunate and called for calm.
The Plateau state chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Soja Bewarang, on Tuesday condemned the killing and asked for immediate justice.
“The offender must be punished accordingly to serve as a deterrent to other security operatives,” it said. “Their assignment is to protect Nigeria citizens not kill; no matter the provocation,” CAN said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the council chairman of Barkinladi, Emmanuel Lomang, insisted that three youth were shot by the soldiers. Two among them sustained serious gun wounds and were taken to the Barkinladi General Hospital for treatment. They were later moved to Jos for better medical attention as their condition deteriorated.
A witness, a food vendor, Nanat Timothy, who claimed the incident occurred close to her restaurant, told journalists at the Barkinladi Secretariat gate that the STF personnel who stabbed Mr. Chollom to death was in uniform at the time of the murder and the incident occurred at a security check point along Gashik-Barkinladi road.
“There was an argument among the three councillors who were supervising the on-going voters’ registration and the Operation Rainbow man was in company of the Councillors,” she said. “The Operation Rainbow officer was trying to introduce himself to the soldier and the soldier stabbed him in his private parts. He died on the spot. The soldier immediately handed over the knife to his colleague and left.”
One of the Councillors, Barry Rigat, representing Marit Ward, in an interview in Barkinladi, also confirmed the soldier stabbed the security officer.
According to Mr. Rigat, the soldiers threatened to kill him.
“Two of the soldiers were dragging me to the bush,” he said. “I insisted on not following them. That was when one of the soldiers stabbed our security man to death.”