The Nigerian Army’s Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) in Plateau State, on Wednesday, admitted to the gruesome killing of Rinji Peter Bala, a 20-year-old student at the University of Jos.
According to reports, Bala and his friends while taking a stroll on Tuesday night, when they were arrested over suspicion of being part of a robbery gang.
He was, however, shot dead even after being released from custody.
The matter has since sparked outrage on social media, with Nigerians demanding justice using the hashtag #JusticeForRinji.
The OPSH in a statement by its media officer, Major Ibrahim Shittu, said it regrets the unfortunate death caused by one of its personnel.
“Operation Safe Haven regrets the unfortunate death of a civilian by name Mr Rinji Peter Bala by its personnel,” the statement read.
“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. Consequently, Sector 1 patrol troops of OPSH swiftly responded and arrested seven suspects, which were immediately moved to the Headquarters Sector 1 for preliminary investigation.
“Thereafter, five out of the seven 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.”
The state governor, Simon Lalong, has also reacted to the incident in a press release posted on Twitter.
He ordered for thorough investigation of the occurrence.
The governor commiserate with the family of the deceased and appealed for calm.