Nigerian Army authorities say Mr. Rinji Peter Bala, the 20year-old University undergraduate, Tuesday shot to death by a Special military Task Force Operative in Jos, was mistaken for an escaping suspect.
Bala was arrested following a distress call but was released before being shot by an operative on sentry duty, said Major Ibrahim Shittu, Media Officer, Operation Safe Haven, Jos.
Shittu in a press statement on Wednesday said, “At about 10pm on 12 May 2020, information was received on the activities of suspected armed robbers and cultists operating around No 18th Street, Jos South LGA of Plateau State.
“The report revealed that the criminals took advantage of the lockdown and curfew to perpetrate crimes.
“Consequently, Sector 1 patrol troops of OPSH swiftly responded and arrested 7 suspects, which were immediately moved to the Headquarters Sector 1 for preliminary investigation.
“Thereafter, 5 out of the 7 suspects were cleared and asked to leave the premises.
“Unfortunately as they were leaving the premises, one of the personnel on sentry duty mistook them for escaping suspects. Thus, he opened fire on them, leading to the death of Mr. Rinji Bala.”
“Operation SAFE HAVE HAVEN regrets the unfortunate death of a civilian by name Mr Rinji Peter Bala by its personnel,” says the Army spokesperson.
“Thorough investigation”, Shittu said is ongoing to unravel the circumstances surrounding the incident, assuring that justice will be served, as the personnel, identified as a Mobile Police attaché has been arrested and detained.
A representative of OPSH, has in the meanwhile visited the family of the deceased to commiserate with them, Shittu said.