Terna Akaakohol, a fashion designer, has been tortured to death during a night raid by Nigerian soldiers in Benue State.
The 50-year-old man was murdered by a number of soldiers who mobbed him until he died in their hands around Wurukum market area in the state.
Tersoo Akaakohol, the diseased’s brother, said the man was on his motorcycle during the raid in the city around 10pm on Thursday when he was attacked.
“The following day on Friday, somebody came to tell us that he saw the dead body of our brother on the street,” Tersoo told FIJ in a telephone conversation.
“He was on his motorcycle while the army were raiding; he didn’t know they were still around. He just wanted to park his motorcycle when he was attacked.”
Three different civilians who asked not to be named for fear of being traced and killed told FIJ Terna was beaten to death by soldiers, who have this attacking unarmed members of the public spotted around the crisis hotspots in Markurdi.
Benue is one of Nigeria’s states battling security challenges such as banditry, farmer-herder clashes, kidnapping and so on.
Residents who spoke with FIJ said soldiers have constantly violated rights of defenceless citizens in the course of carrying out their duty especially in Benue metropolis.
“We don’t know why the soldiers are behaving like that; there is no curfew in town, at least we’re not aware of anything,” a resident told FIJ. “We have several cases, up to three of four persons have died of such recently.”
This claim was corroborated by two more residents who said their rights as citizens of the state were being violated.
Mohammed Yerima, the Army’s spokesperson, said soldiers could not have beaten or killed anyone without reasons.
“It’s a lie; I’m telling you now that it’s a lie,” Yerima told FIJ on the killing of the fashion designer.
“It is not our work to beat people on the street; we’re not primitive and sincerely, with approach and policies of the new Chief of Army Staff, no soldier will do such thing. What they’re saying is garbage.”
He also advised residents to avoid hotspots of the state at night and wondered what offence some of them could have committed to warrant being harassed or beaten by soldiers.
“Ask them what did they do even if they were beaten.”
FIJ had reported how the Nigerian Army has many times orchestrated extrajudicial killings of innocent and defenceless citizens of the country in the course of carrying out its duty in the state.
In April, dozens of soldiers had laid siege to some Benue communities, killing, maiming and firing rockets indiscriminately at armless civilians.
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