Armed ViolenceNews

SARS Officials Scale Fence, Shoot 17-Year-Old Boy In Abuja, Says Family

Police spokesperson says he has not been briefed about the incident but will make enquiries

A 17-year-old resident of Gwarinpa, Abuja, identified simply as Sadiq, was shot in the arm by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) on Monday afternoon, his cousin narrates.

Fatima Babashehu Liman, who is a radiographer at the Medicaid Radio-diagnostics Centre in Abuja, said the SARS officials scaled the fence of a house belonging to her aunt and started firing.

Sadiq was shot as he tried to escape into the neighbouring house, fearing for his life. The officials later said they were raiding in search of a kidnapper who they thought entered the premises.

“Sadiq was performing ablution for zuhr [afternoon Muslim] prayers. On sighting one of the officers shooting, he got scared and he thought they were armed robbers. Out of fear, he jumped into their neighbour’s house,” Liman narrated.

“One of the officers shot him on the hand. Sadiq was bleeding. He handcuffed Sadiq and one of the neighbour’s son and took them into their vehicle. Meanwhile, the remaining officers broke the doors into the house, brought out the remaining boys and her husband and started beating them up.”

She added that they took away the boys and returned minutes later to pack the bullets on the floor. After she made some phone calls, Liman was informed that the youths were being detained at the SARS office in Guzape. There, one of the superior officers said the operatives were in pursuit of a kidnapper who was demanding a ransom and who had jumped into the compound.

“[He said] that they didn’t shoot anybody, that Sadiq got injured by barbed wire while trying to escape and that Sadiq is the kidnapper,” she continued.

“After narrating our own side of the story, the officer realised there were some hidden facts. After clearly listening to his step mum, he asked them to release everybody.”

She asked that they take Sadiq to the hospital and pay for his treatment but said she was threatened by “the commander and his deputy” with arrest.

“After going back and forth, I insisted they give us Sadiq for treatment and seeing it’s a gunshot injury and none of the hospitals will accept us without a police officer attached to us, I demanded one of the police officers accompanies us to the hospital,” she said.

“They took Sadiq into their Hilux vehicle, drove him to National Hospital and left. The doctors told them to wait behind and submit their statement, [but] they refused and left us there. When the bandage on Sadiq’s hand was removed, it was a gunshot injury.”

They realised the bullet had damaged his radius and ulna bones as well as the tendons on his wrist.

“We are demanding justice for Sadiq and the entire family if there is any justice remaining in Nigeria,” she pleaded.

“If not, we have raised our hands and prayed to Allah in this holy month for divine intervention. But today, as Nigerian citizens, our government has failed us. SARS officers are very cruel and inhuman. The officer that shot Sadiq was looking like a hoodlum, with his tattered hairstyle and chains hanging around his neck.”

When HumAngle contacted Anjuguri Manza, spokesperson of the FCT Police Command, he explained that he had not been briefed yet about the incident but will find out what happened.

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'Kunle Adebajo

Head of Investigations at HumAngle. ‘Kunle covers conflict alongside its many intricacies and fallouts. He also writes about disinformation, the environment, and human rights. He's won a couple of journalism awards, including the 2021 Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Journalism, the 2022 African Fact-checking Award, and the 2023 Michael Elliott Award for Excellence in African Storytelling.

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  1. SARS are trying but they need more training on:
    1. how to extract criminal elements with limited collateral damage to innocent citizens and
    2. how to be civil and descent in treating the society that they are trying to protect.
    Wish Sadiq quick and total recovery.

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