The Nigerian Army’s Operation Safe Haven in Plateau State has apologised after its personnel shot dead Rinji Peter Bala, a 20-year-old student at the University of Jos, on Tuesday. .
Bala was first arrested by vigilantes alongside six others for violating the lockdown order put in place to stop the spread of Coronavirus. .
They were then handed over to the security operatives, who shot the young student even after establishing his innocence. The matter has since sparked public outrage with Nigerians demanding justice using the hashtag #JusticeForRinji. .
The OPSH in a statement by its media officer, Major Ibrahim Shittu, on Wednesday, said it “regrets the unfortunate” death” caused by its “personnel”.
It reads, “Operation Safe Haven regrets the unfortunate death of a civilian by name Mr Rinji Peter Bala by its personnel.
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, 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.”