BY peter duru
MAKURDI – There is palpable tension in Makurdi, Benue State, following clashes between soldiers attached to the Nigerian Army School of Military Engineering NASME, and civilians leading to some people sustaining various degrees of injuries and destruction of property worth several millions of Naira.
Eyewitnesses told Vanguard that trouble broke out in the North bank area of Makurdi town when, after an evening outing, a group of soldiers allegedly molested the son of a prominent politician in the area.
They were also alleged to have ransacked his home on the fateful day, provoking angry reaction from the neighbours and groups in the area.
Vanguard source explained that in the midst of the crisis, the soldiers retreated to the barracks and mobilised more personnel who stormed the area and allegedly destroying vehicles and motorcycles in the process.
The soldiers were said to have returned again to the neighborhood Monday night while residents scampered for safety for fear of being molested by the rampaging combatants.
Reacting to the incident, Mr. Agbum, claimed he lost over N260,000 cash on the day of the initial crisis and regretted that several attempts to alert the Commandant of NASME on the actions of the rampaging soldiers, proved abortive as he was not allowed entrance into the barracks.
Attempts by newsmen to get the reaction of the NASME commandant was rebuffed by soldiers who mounted guard at the main entrance to the barracks.
Commenting on the fracas, a resident of North Bank, Mallam Shuaibu Usman, regretted that “the people of the community now live in fear.
We are scared because the soldiers have threatened to come back to ensure that the people who molested their colleagues last weekend paid for their actions. We cannot sleep well in our houses anymore because you and I know what a soldier can do when angry”.
Shuaibu urged “military authorities to call the soldiers to order before the matter gets out of hand.”