The Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service has denied killing anyone in the incident involving its operatives at Alakuko in Alagbado Area of Lagos on Thursday.
Four persons were said to have been hit by stray bullets when operatives of the unit started shooting sporadically in the area while chasing some rice smugglers.
Spokesman of the Unit, Jerry Attah told SHIPS & PORTS DAILY that while acting on a tip off, the officers had seized one of the three vehicles loaded with smuggled rice and ammunition and were driving it to the office when they were attacked by some suspected hoodlums.
He said the hoodlums who were in large number had succeeded in evacuating some of the seized rice before the officers called for reinforcement.
He said during the period, there was a shootout between officers and the hoodlums who he said were armed with dangerous weapons but said no casualty was recorded when the officers left the area.
He said, “Our men were on information patrol to intercept three vehicles loaded with smuggled rice and ammunition. They chased the smugglers and their vehicles down to Alakuku in Alagbado area and stopped one of the vehicles.
“They intercepted it and arrested a smuggler and on their way back to the office, because the car refused to start, they used rope to tow it. In the process, other hoodlums came and attacked our officers. They cut the rope they were using to tow the vehicle and they were in their numbers with gun and machetes and broken bottles.
“There was no casualty when our officers left. However, in a cross fire, tendencies of casualty can come up but where the hit came from is what we don’t know if actually there was a hit on someone.
“Of course it can be from their side because our operatives are professionals in handling arms. They only shot in the air to disperse the smugglers but they did not shoot at anybody; only for us to see on papers that four people died.”
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