A 27-year-old man was killed and two others badly injured from gunshots as two ‘soldiers’ allegedly attempted to rob a POS shop in Maiduguri, Borno State, Northeast Nigeria.
Eyewitnesses at the Maiduguri Computer Village where the fatal shooting occurred on the night of Sunday, Feb. 6, when the two soldiers, both armed with AK-47 rifles, opened fire as they tried to escape after failing to execute a heist at a popular POS shop at the complex.
Witnesses said the robbers, dressed in full military gear, had masks covering their faces when they alighted from a commercial tricycle and entered the POS shop.
“I was here attending to my customers in my shop when I heard gunshots, and before I could step out to check, a soldier with a face mask covering his face entered pointing an AK-47 rifle while asking me to bring the bag of money,” a shop owner in the market told HumAngle.
He said while he was busy trying to go fetch the money, he heard further shooting and suddenly “the soldier became nervous and then hurriedly stepped out of the shop without collecting the money.”
“It was later on that we knew that the soldiers shot at three persons who were rushed to the hospital. One of them, named Abubakar Sadiq, aka Barkono, died on arrival at the hospital. We buried him this morning [Feb. 7]. The other two are at the hospital, and one was shot in the buttocks while the other was in the leg.”
Some of the eyewitnesses said they sighted the two ‘soldiers’ and the tricycle rider parked on the opposite side of the complex.
“They were seen sitting inside the Keke-Napep (tricycle) for over 30 minutes before they finally moved to attack the shop,” another trader at the complex said.
“While the two soldiers stepped out of the Keke-Napep, the rider remained seated on the wheel. One of the soldiers rushed into the shop, and the second one stood outside the shop and began to shoot sporadically.
“After about a minute the second one rushed out of the POS shop and they both continued to shoot at those they thought were trying to accost them.”
Another eyewitness who owns a car wash near the complex said one of the victims who was hit by a bullet on his buttocks was his staff. HumAngle reporter visited the hospital where the 20-year-old young man, Muhammad Hamza, was admitted.
Hamza said the bullet that hit his buttocks narrowly missed his pelvic bone and came out through his thigh.
“We had closed from work when suddenly I heard gunshots and then I saw a soldier pointing a gun towards my direction. I quickly ducked to lay on the floor but before I could reach the ground, I felt something hit my backside as if someone hit me with a stick. When the shooting subsided, my boss said we should get up and run. It was then I felt I could not move one of my legs. I checked the floor and noticed that I was soaked in blood.”
His boss, Abdillahi, said the person that fired the gun that killed Sadiq took a careful aim before he pulled the trigger.
“As we were laying on the floor, I saw the soldier that rushed out of the shop going on one of his knees and aimed at Barkwano who was running into the complex, thinking he was there to accost him. He fired and Barkwano dropped to the floor because the bullet hit him below his chest and came out from the back of his neck.”
Attacks on POS shops were reported late last year when a gang started executing occasional attacks at mobile cash centres. For most of the attacks on POS shops, witnesses said the attackers were usually seen wearing military uniforms and brandishing AK-47 rifles.
Chairman of the Computer Science Village Complex, Alhaji Babawo, confirmed the incident to HumAngle. “We have never seen this kind of attack on us,” he said.
“We were about to close at about 8 pm when we started hearing the gunshots. We thought it was the usual shooting that the soldiers do each time they come nearby around the complex to buy and smoke weed (Indian Hemp). But suddenly we realised it was a robbery by soldiers.”
He said the majority of those who saw what happened were sure that the attackers were soldiers.
“They are soldiers because many people sighted them as they parked and sat in the Keke-Napep on the opposite side of shop 73 which belongs to Alhaji Yusuf.”
“They waited in the Keke-Napep for about 30 minutes as they monitored and observed the activities going on in the shop before they finally struck,” he said.
“We have reported the case to the police before going to bury Barkwano this afternoon. The young man that was shot in his buttocks was at the accident and emergency unit, while the third victim cannot be traced at the moment.”
A senior officer in the office of the Police Public Relations Officer told HumAngle that “we have heard about it but our office is yet to receive official communication to speak in the matter.”
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