Soldiers, Community Clashed in Riyom, Plateau State, Two dead, Three shot

Two men lost their lives in Riyom local government council of Plateau State, weekend, while trying to dredge a well dug in the area since 1985.

The situation turned for the worst, when youths in the area staged a protest against soldiers deployed to ensure peace and order, accusing them of being responsible for their death.

Although the well is situated within the precincts of the soldiers’ area of responsibility, the protesting youth, including men and women, had gathered there, urging the soldiers to produce the two corpses, since they were the ones who urged the men to go into the well.

In the ensuing confrontation between the soldiers and the youth, apart from the two deceased, the soldiers shot and wounded three of the protesters, including one lady, who were rushed to the Plateau State Specialist Hospital for medical attention.

Reacting to the incident, Spokesman of Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), Captain Umar Adam, regretted that citizens were not appreciating sacrifices being made by troops.

Adam said: “What actually happened that led to the death of the two youths was that our people felt the well that was abandoned since 1985 and the only immediate water supply in the area should be rehabilitated for the benefit of the community.

“Like an advertisement, we now employed people who called themselves professionals in that area to come and clear all the rubbish in that well and we paid them to do the work.

“The people assured us that they were professionals and could do the work very well. They now went inside the well. We waited for them to come out. But they did not come out, meaning that they died in the process, betraying the professionalism they claimed to have.

“While we were arranging for people who can go inside the well to help bring out the two corpses, the youths in the area, all of a sudden, mobilised and went on rampage.

They damaged our equipment, personal vehicles and to crown it all, they attempted to disarm our soldiers, but our soldiers forcefully retrieved their rifles from them. Riyom is very notorious.”

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