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22.09.2021 news Soldiers Shoot at Student Protesters in Plateau, Kill Two

Published 22nd Sep, 2021

By Abdullah Tijani

At least two Plateau State Polytechnic (PSP) students have been killed by the army in Jos, capital of Plateau State. The victims died after sustaining injuries from gunshots fired by soldiers to disperse PSP students protesting a strike action declared by the school’s management on Monday.

FIJ learned that the students were hoping to start their exams on Monday after spending close to three years in the 2019/2020 academic session, but the management of the polytechnic declared a strike just before the start of the exam. Frustrated, the students started to protest, blocking roads in front of their school.

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Armed military men appeared at the protest ground and started shooting live bullets at the students in an attempt to disperse them.

“We just wanted to get the attention of the government,” Isaac Clement, one of the protesters said. “But neither the governor nor any other person in the government showed up. They only sent military men to shoot at us.”

“I personally took a student hit by a bullet to the clinic. “This student is in ND 2, and the bullet hit him on his head. He was taken to the hospital at the former airport to get treatment, because the university clinic was overwhelmed.

“I left him there since I needed to get others who were also injured. A student died in my presence at the Jos campus, and another died at the main campus in Barki Ladi.”

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Abraham Dakun, a student at the polytechnic, said about 32 people were injured.

In a video obtained by FIJ, a student receiving treatment said although he ran into hiding with his friends, a stray bullet found him.

“A bullet passed through my hand and hit my waist,” he narrated. The bullet hit a guy close to me on the head and we were both rushed to the school clinic, only to be told they lacked the equipment to treat us. Then we were taken to the Plateau Specialist Hospital in Jos.”

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However, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), a military special task force in the state, said, in a statement released by Major Ishaku Takwa, its spokesman, on Monday, that soldiers did not shoot at protesters but dispersed them professionally.

“The allegation levelled against troops of Operation Safe Haven is baseless, false and unfounded,” the statement read in part. “No personnel serving in Operation Safe Haven fired at any protesting students.”

Meanwhile, the Plateau State government, on Tuesday, admitted the death of a student, although it had earlier said no causality was recorded.

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“The government has regrettably received the sad news of the death of one of the students, who was said to have been hit by a stray bullet and taken to hospital for treatment but could not survive,” Dan Manjang, the Plateau State Commissioner for Information and Communication, said in a statement.

“This is a sad development which the government totally condemns. [It] has, therefore, directed an immediate and thorough investigation to be conducted into the circumstances leading to the death of the student.”

Published 22nd Sep, 2021

By Abdullah Tijani

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