Chief of Army Staff

By M. Peter – Jos

The family of Peter Bala, residence at the Hwolshe area of Jos South local government area of Plateau State were on Tuesday evening thrown into mourning as a security personnel attached to the Operation Safe Haven keeping the peace in the State, allegedly shot and killed their son, Rinji near the new Stadium, along Zaria road in Jos.

An eye witness who narrowly escaped being killed said the security personnel opened fire at them and a bullet hit an killed Rinji, a 300L student of the University of Jos.

It was gathered that Rinji was arrested at about 7pm on Tuesday, in his neighborhood, Hwolshe, alongside six others and taken to Sector 1 headquarters of the Special Task Force near Jos Zaria Road stadium, on a military patrol van.

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According to one of those arrested who did not want to be named, “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. When we took off, they opened fire. Rinji fell few meters from the gate (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’.”

However, the Operation Safe Haven said its regrets the unfortunate death of a civilian by name Mr Rinji Peter Bala by its personnel.

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Major Ibrahim Shittu who is the Media Officer, Operation Safe Haven in a statement explained that “At about 10pm on 12 May 2020, information was received on the activities of suspected armed robbers and cultists operating around No 18th Street, Jos South LGA of Plateau State. The report revealed that the criminals took advantage of the lockdown and curfew to perpetrate crimes.

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“Consequently, Sector 1 patrol troops of OPSH swiftly responded and arrested 7 suspects, which were immediately moved to the Headquarters Sector 1 for preliminary investigation. Thereafter, 5 out of the 7 suspects were cleared and asked to leave the premises. Unfortunately as they were leaving the premises, one of the personnel on sentry duty mistook them for escaping suspects. Thus opened fire on them, which led to the death of Mr Rinji Bala.

“However, a thorough investigation is ongoing to unravel the circumstances surrounding the incident. Meanwhile the MOPOL personnel involved in the incident has been arrested and detained accordingly. Operation SAFE HAVEN has condemned the sad incident. Representative of OPSH has also visited the parents of the deceased to commiserate with them. OPSH also assures the general public of justice.”