A soldier in the Nigerian army’s operation Lafiya Dole in Borno state has allegedly killed a nine-year-old boy in Shehuri area of Maiduguri, the state capital.
The soldier, residents disclosed, was shooting sporadically in celebration of one of his friends who had just obtained a form to contest for councillor in the coming council election in the state.
The nine-year-old, identified as Abdu Tijjani was hit by a bullet and he died immediately, while two other children sustained injuries.
“The soldier opened fire on three children around the palace of the Shehu of Borno on September 2, while celebrating his friend, Ba’a Shehu, a member of Civilian JTF who obtained a form to contest for a councillor position in the upcoming local government election in the state,” a resident said.
“The reckless shootings resulted in the death of the identified as Abdu Tijjani while two other children sustained gunshot injuries.
“The two children who sustained injuries were taken to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) unit of the Borno state specialist hospital in Maiduguri for treatment.”
Mele Tujja, another resident, said immediately after the incident was reported, a team of military police arrived at the scene to arrest the soldier who already fled.
He was, however, arrested later at his unit at Chabbal IDPs, along Muna general area.
“Unfortunately, 11 days later, we were told that the soldier was released by the military and posted back to his duty post without pressing any charges against him,” Tujja said.
“This is a clear case of extrajudicial killing and injustice of the highest order. The military is refusing to take full responsibility for prosecuting the killer when everyone knows that he killed an innocent child.”
Residents accused the military of not conducting a transparent investigation into the incident, as the army team did not speak with locals to know what exactly happened.
Alhaji Grema, a resident, said the soldier was known for reckless shootings in Shehuri environs and had been warned many times by Digima Zubairu, the village head of Shehuri north.
The residents called on Babagana Zulum, governor of Borno state, Tukur Buratai, chief of army staff, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and relevant security agencies to ensure justice is served.
Sagir Musa, army’s spokesperson, was not immediately available to comment on the matter.