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Crime & Punishment of Saturday, 7 January 2023


How police officers allegedly killed two unarmed teenagers in Katsina

File photo to illustrate the story File photo to illustrate the story

The killing of two teenagers, allegedly by police officers, has thrown residents of Tudun Matawalle, Sabuwar Unguwa, in the Katsina metropolis into panic mode.

Aside from the two deceased teenagers, residents told PREMIUM TIMES that three other youth are receiving treatment in two medical facilities for injuries sustained during the incident.

The deceased were allegedly killed by police officers suspected to be from the Sabon Gari Divisional Police Office on Sunday.

Residents told PREMIUM TIMES that the police officers invaded a wedding party where a disk jockey was entertaining the families and friends of the bride and groom.

Yusuf Ahmed-Rufai, whose son, Jawwad Yusuf, was one of the two teenagers killed, told PREMIUM TIMES that the deceased was killed while returning from an Islamic school in the evening.

“My son was returning from school when he was hit by the bullet that claimed his life. I was not around but I was told that there was an event in the area.

“A policeman and some vigilante members in the area tried to stop the event, which we don’t know why up till now, since there is no law prohibiting that. The boys there, however, insisted that since they were not doing anything unlawful, they’ll go ahead with their event.

“The policeman then started shooting because I was told the boys were shouting at him and calling him names. At that time, my son, among some students was returning from school and he was hit by a bullet,” Mr Ahmed-Rufai said.

He said his son, Jawwad, was shot alongside an Almajiri child. And the two died.

Mr Ahmed-Rufai said when he reached the Federal Teaching Hospital, Katsina, a medical doctor pulled him aside and told him that there was still a bullet in his son’s stomach.

“The doctor told me that my son was brought to the hospital shot by policemen and the bullet was still in his stomach. They (medical doctors) tried to save him but it was too late because the children were first taken to the General Hospital Katsina but were rejected there. So, it was too late when they were taken to Federal Teaching Hospital and when I saw him on the bed, I knew he would not make it because he had already lost a lot of blood,” he said.

He said the police area commander for the community has reached out to the family with the assurance that the culprits would be brought to justice.

How I was shot

Abduljamiu Yusuf, another victim who is still at the hospital, told PREMIUM TIMES he was accidentally caught in the shooting because he was inside his family house when the commotion began.

He was shot in his right hand. The bullet cut off one of his fingers.

“I came out to return a bucket I borrowed from a friend when the bullet hit me. I saw a police van in the area and before I knew it, a bullet hit me in the hand.

“I rushed towards a policeman who I believe shot me, crying, but he motioned that I should stop or he will shoot me again,” Mr Yusuf said.

Musa Ali, the head teacher of the Almajiri school, said one of his pupils, a nine year old, was killed in the shooting.

He did not give further details to PREMIUM TIMES as he said he would need to speak with the parents of the deceased teenager first.

Another resident, Umma Abdullahi, said she was the first person to see the teenagers after they were shot.

“I was preparing for evening prayers when my daughter ran into the house shouting that the police are shooting people. I ran outside our house where in the frontage of our door, I saw the two boys lying helplessly with blood coming out of their bodies. The other one (Almajiri) is already dead I think because he was not even moving while the other boy was still breathing,” she said.

Two of the victims are currently at the General Amadi Rimi Orthopaedic and Specialists Hospital while the other one is at the Federal Teaching Hospital in Katsina.

Policemen on crime-bursting patrol

The police spokesperson in Katsina State, Gambo Isa, said the police officers were on a crime-bursting patrol when the accident occurred.

“Well, it’s true what happened. We received a report that the incident occurred when a team of policemen and security agents stormed a criminal hideout to arrest the criminals but there was an event going on around the place. Those security agents that went with our men also fired shots,” Mr Isa told Alfijir Radio, a local radio station in Katsina.

“But what actually happened was that when the security agents stormed the place, one of the criminals tried to wrestle the rifle from the policeman, which led to the gun going off and cutting the criminal’s finger,” he said.

Mr Isa, a superintendent, said the following morning, they heard that a nine-year-old boy was also hit by the bullet.

“What we’re investigating now is to ascertain who did the shooting. What the policeman told us is that it was one bullet and it was the criminal who was wrestling the rifle with him that led to that. So we want to find out how many bullets were fired from his gun. We’re also checking to see if the bullets were from the other security agents who were also there to make an arrest,” he said.