By Jude Owuamanam
Managing Editor, Northern Operations
DAMATURU, Yobe (Sundiata Post) – Three persons were said to have been killed and scores others wounded when the Army and the police engaged themselves in a shootout in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital on Wednesday.
Among those killed was a sergeant identified as Francis, attached to MOPOL 8 Jos. The Commander of MOPOL 41 CSP Dauda Fika, who was said to have been abducted by soldiers, was later seen with wounds.
Also injured were civilians who were caught in a cross fire.
The causes of the clash were sketchy as at press time, but eye witness say that the problem started when an army officer, in mufti, went to one of the crowded banks to withdraw some money.
He was said to have been overwhelmed by the huge crowd he met and he tried to shove others already in line aside to have his way.
But the resistance by the people attracted the attention of anti-riot policemen nearby and a fight ensued. The army officer was said to have been dragged to MOPOL 41 Barracks where he was detained.
He was said to have made a quick call to his colleagues who went to the barracks and started shooting to secure his release.
It was then that policemen engaged them in a shootout.
Residents of Damaturu, who were not aware of the cause of the deadly clash were in utter confusion as they ran helter skelter with nowhere to hide.
It was a theatre of war as sporadic gunshots and sounds of heavy artillery were heard with many civilians avoiding the streets and scampering to the safety of their homes.
The battle, which looked as if it was between two enemy combatants, disrupted normalcy in an already volatile Damaturu metropolis for about two hours.
Financial institutions, government establishments and people who opened their places of businesses were forced to close early because of the incident.
Many security personnel who sustained injuries as well as civilians who suffered strayed bullet injuries were rushed to the Damaturu Specialist Hospital for medical attention.
Bodies of the dead were deposited at the hospital mortuary.
Meanwhile, a security meeting between military, the police and the DSS and chaired by the state deputy governor, Alhaji Abubakar Aliyu, was held behind close doors at the Government House, Damaturu after the ceasefire.
Speaking to newsmen at the end of the meeting, the commander of the 27 Task Force Brigade, Buniyadi, Maj. Gen. Aminu Bande, said a committee has been set up to investigate the matter and ensure justice was done.
“The cause of the clash for now is not the issue because it will affect the work of the investigation team.
“The committee will ensure that the officer found guilty for this clash will be seriously dealt with” the General said.
The Yobe State commissioner of Police, Mr. Sumonu Abdulmaliki, said the issue has been resolved, adding that investigation panel has started its work.
“The meeting has ended well and conflict like this is normal and we have made a lot of progress in ensuring that issues like this are averted in the future”
The Army General and the Police Commissioner both called on the residents to go about their normal businesses and to also have confidence in the security forces as they would emerge stronger in the fight against the common enemy, the Boko Haram.
The state commissioner of Police while speaking on the abduction of the squadron commander of Mopol 41 in Damaturu the state capital said, the officer CSP Dauda Fika has been released and currently being examine at an undisclosed hospital in Damaturu the state capital.
“I can confirm to you that the squadron commander of the MIKAIL 41 base in Damaturu who was earlier abducted by some group of persons in military uniform, has been released and is currently being examine in a hospital within Damaturu metropolis”, he said