Two persons were feared dead, while six others sustained injuries following clashes between youths and soldiers in Gurin in the Fufore Local Government Area of Adamawa State on Thursday.
The Brigade Commander, 23 Brigade Yola, Brig. Gen. G. S. Mohammed, confirmed the clash to Northern City News on Thursday.
He, however, did not confirm the fatalities.
It was, however, gathered that two persons were shot dead by the soldiers, while six others sustained gunshot injuries.
A resident of Gurin, Adamu Komboje, told our correspondent that over 2,000 youths took to the streets to protest alleged military harassment and selective enforcement of the ban on the use of motorcycles.
According to him, the villagers were angered by a situation where their impounded motorcycles were being used by the soldiers and their errand boys.
He said, “Actually, the frustration has been building, but yesterday (Wednesday), the soldiers tried to seize a particular young man’s motorcycle and he resisted.
“This is because they (soldiers) will impound your motorcycle only for you to later see them or their errand boys riding it.
“If you say there’s a ban on the use of motorcycles, then our understanding is that no one, not even the soldiers, should be riding motorcycles.
“This morning the soldiers stormed the motor park area, beat up people randomly. One Sani Sakatare was beaten to a state of stupor; I believe this was what triggered the protest.
“It was not too long when we heard that two people were shot dead in the ensuing violence, but as of now, there’s security reinforcement in Gurin and everywhere is calm.”
The brigade commander, however, denied this account.
Mohammed said, “The ban on the use of motorcycles in the state is in force and we have been making concerted efforts to enforce it. But in some of the communities, youths always resist arrest whenever they default and flaunt it.
“In fact, recently in Ganye, there was a violent action by the youth, who defaulted and were resisting arrest by mobilising against the troops and even the police.
“This incident that just happened; the youth threw stones and even broke a military vehicle; they were very violent.”
He noted that some of the unruly youths attempted to disarm some of his men, who reacted in self-defence in accordance with the rules of engagement.
The Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Information, Polycap Ayuba, while reacting to the development, said Governor Ahmadu Fintiri was concerned about the hardship caused by the ban and was reviewing the security situation in the state before taking a decision.