There is an uneasy calm in Hwolshe community, a suburb of Jos South LGA of Plateau state, as the entire community was thrown into mourning, following the alleged killing of a 20 year old undergraduate of the University of Jos, Rinji Peter Bala popularly known as ‘Bobo’ by soldiers of Operation Safe Heaven, Sector 1 Zaria Road Jos, Plateau State.
Rinji Peter and his 6 friends were said to be walking in their community during the COVID19 lockdown around 6:30-7:00pm on Tuesday 12th May, 2020 when they were arrested by the vigilante/neighbourhood watch in the area who handed them over to the Soldiers situated around Akila Machunga street, having mistaken them for suspected criminals.
AIT gathered, that the 7 youths were later transferred to sector 1 of the Operation Safe Haven situated at Zaria Road, where they were released when nothing incriminating was found on them only to be allegedly shot at while leaving the premises of the Sector Command after being beaten severely which led to the killing of one according to one of the survivor and eye witness Emmanuel Dung.
“They didn’t tell us our offense, but tortured us for over an hour before releasing us.
“At the gate, some soldiers asked us to run and When we took off, they opened fire, Bobo (Rinji Peter) fell few meters from the gate of the (Sector Command entrance).
“I stopped to help him up but a soldier came close, with his gun pointed at me but turned back when another soldier shouted “ceasefire,”” said a survivor.
Peter’s father, Mr Bala, a Secret Service Agent was at the Sector Command shortly after the incident and said “I saw a corpse at the entrance of the military base but didn’t know it was my son; and they never told me until I met a fellow detainee while driving home,” Mr. Bala told relatives.
Efforts to get to the Operation Safe Heaven’s authority for their own side of the story was unsuccessful as several calls was put through to the spokesperson of the STF without any response.
However, spokesperson of the Plateau state police command Gabriel Ubah confirmed the incident and said the case has been reported to the Criminal Investigation Department of the Command while investigations is ongoing .