By Taye Obateru
JOSâ€”TWO men, one of them an ex-soldier, were yesterday shot dead at Bisichi in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State by men of the Special Task Force maintaining security in the state, after they allegedly engaged the security men in a shootout.
The villagers, however, claim that the two deceased, identified as Solomon Lend, chief security officer of an agro-based industry in the village and, Yohanna Ganchika, were killed by security men when they came out to protect the village from an impending mayhem by assailants reportedly attacking other villages.
Spokesman of the Special Task Force, Brigadier General Donald Oji said in a statement that the two were shot when they advanced towards security men who went to the village following a distress call from some people.
The statement read: â€œThe two suspects were killed following a distress call made about 3:30a.m and when we got there we discovered that the hoodlums were advancing towards us with torch lights prompting the shooting that led to their being killed.
â€œIn the shootout that followed, STF troops killed two of the assailants and recovered a locally made revolver, eight live rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, a catapult, a torch light and a dagger belonging to them.
â€œSome empty cases of expended rounds of ammunition were also recovered at the scene. One of the dead men, who apparently led the attack, was dressed in an army pullover and was identified as a security guard in a company in that area.â€
Oji said that efforts were on to track down other members of the group who fled.
However, some of the villagers told journalists that the duo might be members of the vigilante groups that have emerged following repeated attacks on villages despite the presence of security men.
A man in Rahei-Foron village near Bisichi told reporters that they got a report of strange movements and shootings at Bisichi as a result of which they all came out and moved their wives and children into the bush before the soldiers eventually came.
Meantime, a nephew of former head of state, General Yakubu Gowon, has petitioned the Nigerian Air Force over an alleged assault on him by an officer in the Plateau State capital.
Mr. Daniel Gowon is demanding justice over an attack on him by a flight officer serving at the 330 Air Station Jos (names withheld) on 13 April, 2010, after the officer accused him of blocking his way in the traffic.
Attack by air force officer
Gowon alleged that he was on his way to work when he noticed a blue Toyota Corolla with registration number plate CZ 43 GGE hooting excessively behind him.
His petition said: â€œI took out my left hand out of the window and gave him a hand indicating that I cannot move faster because a car was in front of me. I turned right to enter JIB (Jos International Breweries) Road and he veered in front of me.
Each time I attempted to pass him he blocked me with his car. This happened until I turned off my engine and waited to see what he would do.
â€œAt this time he got out of his car towards me. I then got out of my car. He started walking towards my car and then returned to his car and removed a green belt. I told him in a calm voice, â€˜young man before you do anything, General Gowon is my father.â€™ He did not listen and whipped once in my upper torso. Then he whipped me on my neck area. At this stage passersby stopped to intercede.â€
The petitioner said although the officer later apologized after he was invited by the Nigerian Air Force Provost at the station, Flight Officer Oluwaremilekun Ilori, he considered the apology belated and decided to seek justice.
Ilori confirmed receipt of the petition adding that investigations had commenced.