Abuja - Army sources have absolved soldiers from blame following the death of some members of a youth vigilante group in the troubled town of Maiduguri in Borno State.
The five youth were killed on Monday after a face-off with some soldiers ahead of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari.
According to reports from locals, the crisis started when members of the youth vigilante group accosted a convoy of the 7th Division of the Nigerian Army.
The vehicle was escorting ammunition ferried through the Maiduguri International Airport using a private commercial trailer.
According to eyewitnesses who spoke to journalists on condition of anonymity, the youth asked to check the trailer.
When the soldiers refused, the youths barricaded the road and made it difficult for the soldiers to move the trailer after forcefully climbing the vehicle.
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The eyewitnesses said this sparked a furore with the soldiers shooting at the youth.
Five youth were reportedly killed and an unspecified number injured.
A security source meanwhile denounced the action of some armed youths as an “affront” on the military.
He lamented that despite the fact that while the vehicle was escorted by heavily armed soldiers in uniform, the youth still had the “gut” to ask that the vehicle should not only be checked but the ammunition should be off loaded.
“They even went a step further to set bonfire which could have caused a massive explosion as the trailer was filled with thousands of explosives,” he said.
“The soldiers had no other choice but to shoot at the youths,” the source added.
- CAJ News