By Mustapha Usman and Muhammad Bashir
Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, have allegedly killed a bystander with a stray bullet during a raid on drug dealers in Kano State on Monday.
The incident happened at Plaza area, a popular beehive of drug dealers in Fagge Local Government Area of the state.
The victim, identified as Abubakar was said to have been shot dead by a stray bullet in the course of a raid launched by the operatives of the NDLEA when he came to the area to collect his clothes.
An eyewitness, Basiru Chile, said the deceased was said to have come to the area to collect his clothes, but became an unfortunate victim when the operatives fired a warning shoot but was hit by a stray bullet and died instantly.
There were conflicting reports on the identity of the victim which described as a drug dealer by some people while some eyewitnesses insisted the man was killed by a stray bullet when the agency operatives stormed the area and as they shot into the air.
“The guy is not a drug dealer. He is a customer and came to collect his clothes. Unfortunately, when the operatives of NDLEA stormed the area, these drug dealers decided to resist the raid, then the officers fired a shot and the deceased was hit by the stray bullet,” Mr Chile said.
However, there was a mild drama when the aggrieved drug dealers reportedly carried the corpse and headed to the Shahuci Division of the agency.
“On reaching there, they decided to make their way into the division, but the operatives barred them from gaining access to the building with dangerous weapons. The guys then dumped the corpse at the gate of the division and moved,” The eyewitness account said
When contacted, the state NDLEA Commander, Hamza Umar confirmed the incident, saying it was not intentional, stressing that the deceased was hit by a stray bullet.
Narrating how it transpired, the commander said his operatives stormed Plaza area to arrest a notorious dealer of drugs, Ibrahim Reza.
According to him, his operatives were engaged in physical confrontation with some drug dealers who tried to rescue Reza from the hands of the NDLEA officers after they successfully arrested him.
“They stormed on out men to forcefully snatch Reza after we nabbed him. In the course of the struggle, one of my officers fell to the ground. In a bid to escape their attack, he fired a warning shot while on the ground. Unfortunately the bullet brushed off the chin of the deceased.
“It is not intentional at all. But according to the rule of our duty, I am just to investigate how the incident happened. But I cannot punish the officer.
“The officers that launched the operation had already been arrested. I have handed over the case to the police and they are on top of the situation,” Said the commander.
Mr Umar also stated that he attended the funeral service of the deceased and paid a condolence to his family
He explained that “if the family claim their right over the death of their member, I myself will show them the procedure. But if they forgive, then fine it is already a fateful event. ”
The commander also stressed that the agency would arrest Mr Reza sooner or later, adding that all other drug dealers would be dealt with in a bid to tackle the menace of drug abuse in the state.