By Chima Azubuike, Gombe (The PUNCH)
Ten persons reportedly died and 30 others injured in Gombe in an incident involving the Boys’ Brigade drawn from St Peter’s Anglican Church, Madaki; two parishes of ECWA Church in Bamusa and Barunde; and an official of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps.
The NSCDC official was identified through his ID card as ASC II Adamu Abubakar, and he was reportedly driving a Honda car with registration No. AS 385 GME.
He was allegedly with an unidentified male companion. Both of them died in the incident, Police and eyewitnesses said.
The incident reportedly happened during a night procession to Sabon-Layi Area of Gombe Metropolis, where the church members were expected to celebrate Easter Monday.
The Gombe Police Public Relations Officer, SP Mary Malum, confirmed this to our correspondent; noting, “There are 10 death cases and 30 injured victims receiving treatment at the state specialist hospital and other private health institutions.
“Eight out of the 10 dead persons were members of the Gombe State Boys’ Brigade, while the other two were the driver of the car and his friend.”
However, while the Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps, Gombe State, Dr. Godwin Omiko, described the incident as an accident, eyewitness said it was rather a direct confrontation between the Anglican and ECWA churches’ Boys’ Brigades and the NSCDC official.
Another eyewitness at the scene of the incident, Michack Michael, confirmed that some ECWA Boys’ Brigade who survived the incident immediately fell on the salon car’s driver and killed him.
Michael said, “Immediately we noticed the vehicle knocking people down, we immediately held the driver and his passenger and killed them.
“We wanted to burn the car, but we were stopped.”
Survivors at the male surgical ward confirmed the attack. One of them, identified simply as Godwin, noted that the NSCDC official returned after he had been allowed to pass and “leveled” members of his group.
Another survivor, David, said, “This is not the first time we are embarking on such procession in the wee hours of the night, as we had done it in previous festive seasons.
Another eyewitness, Zakaria Ibrahim, blamed the Civil Defence officer for taking the law into his hands, saying, “the man deliberately came to kill us.”
The victims were said to have been rushed to the Gombe State Specialist Hospital as soon as the incident happened.
Gombe State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Kennedy Ishaya, condemned the incident.
“It is rather unfortunate that this type of attack was recorded. There are various degrees of injuries, as there are those with head injuries and lacerations,” Ishaya added.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Governor of Gombe State and the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria, North East chapter, on Monday appealed to the Christian Community to remain calm.