Two minors narrowly escaped death on Friday after being hit by stray bullets from officials of the Seme Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service during a clash with suspected petrol smugglers.
Public Relations Officer of the command, Hussaini Abdullahi, who confirmed the incident, said trouble started when officials attempted to evacuate several jerrycans which contained stolen petrol stockpiled at Carpenter village, Seme.
He said the two boys, Hunsi Taiwo, 12, and Ganjo Henry, 10, hit at the back and ankle have been treated at the Customs clinic and discharged.
He said, “On Friday, July 3, 2020, at about 5 pm, a joint patrol team of Seme Area Command based on credible intelligence went on an operation along Seme Carpenter Village used as a hideout by some unpatriotic elements to stockpile Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) for onward smuggling to the neighbouring Benin Republic.
“In an effort to evacuate the said item from the scene, some unscrupulous elements launched a vicious attack on the officers and aggressively advanced towards the scene of the seizure with assorted dangerous weapons with a desirous effort to set the place ablaze.
“Considering the volatility of the seized items involved and the fact that all efforts short of using force to halt the mob from advancing towards the scene proved abortive, officers were left with no option than to use their firearms in order to defend themselves and avoid the envisaged catastrophe.
“However, verifiable information later received indicated that two innocent young males were injured by stray bullets in the back and ankle respectively – Adomeh Henry, 10, and Hunsu Taiwo, 12. .
“In view of the above development and the utmost priority by the Command to always protect and respect the sanctity of human lives/safety in every operation, the injured fellows were immediately rushed to Customs Clinic for proper medical intervention and fortunately the result came out with no major damages. This gave room for prompt treatment of the patients at Customs facility and were consequently discharged strictly based on medical advice.”
He said that the command has registered its unreserved displeasure to the villagers for the unfortunate incident adding that as a responsible and responsive Service, the command was working round the clock to partner with the family by providing all the necessary support to cushion the effect of the tragedy.
“Finally, the renewed hostility by smugglers and their accomplices will never be a distraction in discharging our statutory responsibilities. On the other hand, daredevil smugglers will continue to meet their waterloo with no breathing space in Seme,” he said.