February 24, 2024

Plateau natives allegedly shot by soldiers petition CDS, GOC 3 Div, IGP, others

Plateau natives allegedly shot by soldiers petition CDS, GOC 3 Div, IGP, others


…Demand thorough investigation, compensation

By Marie-Therese Nanlong

The family of late Damden Datom and Mr. Sunday Yusuf allegedly shot in the Mangu local government area of Plateau State by some personnel of Operation Safe Haven, OpSH keeping the peace in the State have petitioned the Chief of Defense Staff, CDS, General Christopher Musa, and others over the incident, demanding a compensation of N1billion.

Datom died at the spot where he was allegedly shot and Yusuf survived the incident but lost one hand due to the gunshot injury he sustained.

The deceased family and the survivor in a letter addressed to the CDS dated 31st January 2024 but received on the 6th of February 2024, copied to the GOC 3 Division and Commander Operation Safe Haven; the IGP, DG DSS, the Governor of Plateau State and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and sighted by this medium in Jos also called for a thorough investigation to apprehend and punish those who carried out the act.

The said letter is titled “Extra-judicial killing of late Damden Dafur Datom and injury of Mr. Sunday Yusuf: Unprofessional conduct by the military personnel in Mangu LGA and the demand for compensation in the sum of N1 billion and thorough investigation of the incident.”

Their lawyer, D. A. Dalong Esq of the D. A. Dalong and Associates said that “… on the 24/1/2024 at about 9.30 am at Angwan Sarki, close to the Mishkaham Mwaghavul Palace, Mangu LGA, Plateau State, late Mr. Damden Dafur Datom and his neighbours were standing in front of their respective houses a day after the security breach in some parts of the Mangu LGA Plateau State.

“The men and officers of Operation Safe Haven, Mangu Sector came in a military van and upon sighting the deceased and his neighbours, without any form of provocation opened fire on them.

“Consequently, the late Mr. Damden Dafur Datom was shot dead at close range instantly by the men and officers of Operation Safe Haven, Mangu Sector. While Mr. Sunday Yusuf was shot in his hand at close range which damaged the hand. He was rushed to the hospital and his hand was later amputated as the result of bullet wounds he sustained…”

The survivors demanded justice as the spokesman for the Datom family Mr. Longs Datom told journalists in Jos, that the victims were in front of their homes to “keep watch and know when to escape with their families to avoid a repetition of what happened during the 2023 Christmas Eve attack.

“Unfortunately, and surprisingly, the soldiers turned their guns against them and shot at them. In the process, Damden was hit on his chest and a bullet pierced through his shoulder, and he died instantly.

“The bullet hit Mr. Sunday Yusuf on his right hand and shattered it completely which led to his hand being amputated. The body of Damden has been deposited at the mortuary and is yet to be buried until an investigation is carried out.

“There was no justification for the soldiers to have opened fire on armless civilians. Yusuf, a father of four and a youth leader of the community whose hand is now amputated only wanted to know why the overnight shooting persisted but rather than getting answers, he was shot at by the men of OpSH, against the rules of engagement.”

He added, “We have written petitions through some of our concerned lawyers to the Inspector General of Police Kayode Egbetokun, demanding thorough investigation and prosecution.

“In another separate letter, a petition was written to the Chief of Defense Staff, Gen. Christopher Musa, and a copy forwarded to the Governor of the State, Barr. Caleb Mutfwang.

“Petitions have also been written to the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 3 Division and Commander Operation Safe Haven, Maj.-Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar, the DSS and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.

“The deceased was the breadwinner of the family, he left behind his wife, Tina, and three children aged 14 years, 9 years, and 6 years old. Also, Mr. Sunday Yusuf has 4 children and a wife with nobody to help him.”

The deceased’s wife, Tina, and the amputee, Yusuf said they are calling on the government and the military to compensate them so they can cater for their families.

However, the Media Officer of OpSH, Capt. James Oya, said he was not aware of the incident but stated that since they have written a petition, “the Legal Team in charge will handle it. Investigations will be carried out and the Legal Team will respond accordingly.”