'We are not Boko Haram', survivors of Abuja killings say

Survivors of the SSS attack

Survivors of the armed attack by Nigerian soldiers in hospital in Abuja

Ayorinde Oluokun/Femi Ipaye

The uncompleted building where the shooting occurred
The uncompleted building where the shooting occurred

There has been a twist in the claims by Nigeria’s intelligence agency, the SSS that its men engaged in a shootout with armed Boko Haram elements early Friday, in Abuja, as survivors and residents of the area disputed the account.

They said there was no shootout. But rather, they contended, armed men in military uniform stormed the uncompleted building on Bamanga Tukur Road, located behind the Apo Legislative Quarters, when the occupants were asleep and opened fire on them.

Seven persons reportedly died and many were injured. The SSS also arrested another 12 people.

Some residents of the street who spoke to P.M.NEWS disputed the claims of DSS about the identity of the dead and the other occupants of the building.

Survivors of the armed attack by Nigerian soldiers in hospital in Abuja
Survivors of the armed attack by Nigerian soldiers in hospital in Abuja

The residents said the men occupying the uncompleted house are squatters, most of whom are engaged in different forms of menial jobs and hawking.

The residents, who demanded that their identity should be protected also said the squatters paid N200 per day to a security guard identified as Joseph as a daily rent.

They also said there has been no form of security breach in the area to warrant the claims of the intelligence agency that the victims, most of whom are in their early 20s were members of the militant sect.

Nigeria intelligence agency, the Department of State Security Services had in a statement today claimed that it arrested 12 members of the Boko Haram during a raid on an uncompleted building located at Bamanga Tukur Street at Apo Legislative Quarters in Abuja early on Friday morning.

In a statement by the Deputy Director, Public Relations, DSS, Marilyn Ogar, the agency said the operation “was sequel to information obtained from two Boko Haram elements Kamal Abdullahi and Mohammed Adamu, who had earlier been arrested for terrorist activities.
They led the security team to uncompleted buildings where arms were purported to have been buried underground.”

Ogar added that as the team of security officers commenced digging for the arms, they came under heavy gunfire attack by other Boko Haram elements within the area, which prompted immediate response from the security team.

Ibrahim Danladi, 20years, one of the survivors on the hospital bed
Ibrahim Danladi, 20years, one of the survivors on the hospital bed

“As a result, some persons were injured and twelve others have been arrested in connection with the incident, and are making useful statements”.

Remains of some of those killed were seen lying on the ground during a visit to the area early this morning.

The police also confirmed that seven persons were killed in the shooting.

Sunday Odukoya, the Assistant Commissioner of Police in-Charge of Abuja Metro Area Command, confirmed the killings to newsmen on Friday.

When asked if he was aware of claims that the men were killed by soldiers, the Police officer said: “I have not heard something like that.

“But the issue is when a matter happens like this, we do investigation, people will tell us what happened, we will gather more intelligence,’’ he added.

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One Malam Huwal Umaru who claimed to be the leader of labourers staying in the uncompleted building said seven of his workers were killed and many were injured. He added the uniformed men also went away with 15 of his members.

He added that there were over 100 young men staying in the uncompleted building and that they have been staying there for over a year without any serious incident.

Umaru said the men in military uniform who came in two vehicles started shooting immediately they got to the front of the uncompleted building.

He added that it was the sound of the guns that roused those staying in the uncompleted building from sleep.

According to him, in the ensuing confusion, some of the residents of the building began to run toward their attackers and were shot.

Another resident of the area however admitted that the uniformed men were shot at by one of the occupant of the building with a locally made pistol, but described the claims by DSS that its men came under heavy attack as false.

At Asokoro General Hospital, 17 of those who sustained gunshot injuries during the attack have been admitted for treatment.

Though most of them can only speak Hausa, Ibrahim Bala, 20 told P.M. NEWS that some men in military uniform invaded the building in four vehicles and opened fire on those living in the uncompleted building.

He added that most of the occupants who took to their heels on sighting the men in military uniform were shot as they were running away.

Consistent with this claim, P.M. NEWS also observed that the survivors were shot at the back, mostly in the buttocks area.

Another survivor: shot in the buttock while escaping from armed attackers
Another survivor: shot in the buttock while escaping from armed attackers

This was also observed in the case of some of the remains of the victims seen by P.M. NEWS before they were moved to the mortuary of the same hospital on Friday afternoon.

An x-ray seen by a P.M. NEWS reporter shows a bullet still lodged in the buttock of one of the survivors.

Bala told P.M.News that trouble began for the squatters when a scavenger came to steal some length of barbed wire from the fence of the uncompleted building last Wednesday.

The security guard, according to him, went to report the theft to the owner of the building.

He added that the owner of the building consequently gave all the squatters a two week ultimatum to leave the building.

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