Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
At least three persons have been shot and are now are in critical condition following a late evening raid by men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) on Zawang community in Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State.
The shooting, according to eyewitnesses, followed an attempt by the operatives to arrest a group of youths, whom the police described as “hoodlums” in a bar.
The three, Mr. Dung Chollom, Mr. Dung Chung and Mr. Henry Anthony Dokotri were among many others that were arrested.
Sources say they and others ambushed in the beer parlour had cooperated on the arrest but were shot while seated on the SARS patrol van.
The owner of the bar, Mr. Japhet Nnadi, said the SARS operatives opened fire randomly when he tried inquiring what their mission was.
According to Nnadi, “They tied them all to one another by the shirts and started brutalising them, forcing them into the van like animals.
“I tried to ask what the offence was and they jumped on me too that I must follow them. I was just about stepping into the van when I heard gunshots everywhere.
“They kept shooting and I had to run for cover just as everyone else. The victims were shot; one on the head and leg, another was also brushed with a bullet on the head and the third on the hand.”
Confirming the raid, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Matthias Tyopev Terna, said the shooting was a raid on a notorious jungle in the community.
He said: “On the January 22, 2018, at about 2030hrs SARS raided a notorious jungle located at Dorowa village in Jos South Local Government Area of the state where hoodlums were found smoking ‘weed’ suspected to be Indian hemp.
“At the point of arrest, there was an exchange of gun fire between the SARS operatives and the hoodlums.
“As a result, three of the hoodlums were injured and taken to Plateau State Specialist Hospital, Jos, by SARS agents.
“Two were treated and discharged while one is still on admission and two of the operatives have been keeping vigil there since yesterday.
“The SARS operatives also recovered one locally made pistol with three live cartilages as well as some parcels and wraps of weed suspected to be Indian helm on the scene of crime.
“Thirteen suspects were also arrested at the scene and they are undergoing investigation.”
But the youths President of Dorowa community, Mr. John Ayuba, said the community has never had any record of criminal activities.
He described the actions of the SARS as uncivilized and illegal, saying the youths have had enough of the harassment and might consider legal actions if it persists.