August 11, 2011 – Nursing Mom died in Biu, Borno State During Gunfight
Hadiza Mohammed, died on Wednesday in Biu, Borno State, during a violent protest by youths, following an alleged arrest of some Muslim clerics by soldiers from the 23 Armoured Brigade.
An eyewitness, Hamza Mustapha, said that the incident occurred around 12 noon. “The whole thing started around 10 a.m. after some soldiers raided an Islamic school at Tashan Danfulani Ward and arrested five clerics,” he said. “The arrested clerics are teachers in the school.”
Mustapha added that the soldiers alleged that the clerics were members of the Boko Haram sect, adding that all the clerics were taken to the palace of the Emir of Biu by the soldiers before the soldiers took them to their barracks in Biu.
“But while this was going on, some female students of the school quickly mobilised hundreds of youths to seek their immediate release,” he said, adding that the protest turned violent at the palace of the Emir, when the students failed to have an audience with him.
“Although they lodged a complaint at the palace, the aggrieved youths began chanting war songs for their inability to see the Emir, Alhaji Umar Mustapha,” he said. “Apparently piqued by their inability to see the monarch, the demonstrators proceeded to the local government secretariat and started vandalising government and private properties, before they were dispersed by
He said that the youth later re-grouped and spread to various parts of the town, chanting various slogans over the arrest of the clerics. “Tension was heightened in the town when the youths were also said to have barricaded major streets, burning used tyres, leading to the shutting down of shops, markets and other commercial areas as motorists and other residents were forced to scamper for safety,” he said.
Another witness, Muhammed Isa, said that the protest worsened, after soldiers were deployed to restore law and order in the town. “Some of the youths started throwing stones at them, while the security personnel fired at the crowd,” he said.
“The demonstrators were seriously unhappy over the presence of the soldiers at the scene and they booed them. To our surprise the military men suddenly opened fire at the crowd, leaving two people wounded, while a nursing mother, one Mrs Hadiza Muhammad died on the spot.”
Spokesman of the 23 Armored Bridage, Yola, Lt. Olumide Olukoya, confirmed the incident, but said he was yet to be fully briefed on the issue.