Military News Nigeria Security

Nigerian Soldier Kills Aid Worker, Injures UN Helicopter Pilot

A soldier of the 25 Task Force Brigade in Borno ran amok on Thursday and shot a female humanitarian aid worker to death while injuring a UN pilot.

The soldier also killed one of his colleagues who tried to disarm him.

Reports said he would have taken more lives, but for the quick intervention of his colleagues who neutralised him.

Reacting to the incident, the Theatre Command of “Operation HADIN KAI’’, expressed regret at the sad occurrence at one of its military bases.

Samson Zhakom, assistant director, Army Public Relations, said the soldier shot and killed a staff member of one of the NGOs providing humanitarian support in the North-east.

“Same soldier also killed another soldier and injured the co-pilot of one of the UN helicopters. Own troops on the ground immediately neutralised the errant personnel,’’ Mr Zhakom, a major, said.

He explained that the injured co-pilot had been stabilised while the corpses of the deceased have been moved to the 7 Division Hospital.

He added that detailed investigation into the incident and subsequent remedial actions had started.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) gathered that the soldier walked off his base in a remote town of Damboa in Borno, on Thursday and went on a shooting spree using an Ak47 riffle.

The development compelled humanitarian workers of an international non-governmental organisation waiting at the military base to board a helicopter back to Maiduguri to scamper to safety.

One of the humanitarian agencies’ workers, Abdulkareem Ibrahim, told NAN that the soldier emptied his magazine and after realising that he had ran out of bullets, he brought out a jack knife.

“He stabbed a female staff of one of the international NGOs four times, killing her before injuring the helicopter pilot,’’ Mr Ibrahim said.

He added that the rampaging soldier again turned and chased his colleagues before he was gunned down to prevent further disaster.

He said the pilots and the crew were safely back to Maiduguri while efforts were on-going to stabilise the wounded co-pilot at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.

An official familiar with the matter said due to the incident, the United Nations Humanitarian Assistance team has suspended all helicopter missions to and from the operations area till further notice.

Narrating the incident, an official familiar with the matter said, “An armed soldier came from no where, started shooting at pilots and passengers.

“He shot a pilot, stabbed a passenger to death and also killed a fellow soldier.

“At the moment, the atmosphere is tensed here The soldier reportedly went to the helipad while raining insult on the air crew and humanitarians calling them all sorts of names.

“All of a sudden he opened fire on the captain (pilot) who tried to escape it is still uncertain if the pilot was injured or not.

“After that he (soldier) turned towards the humanitarians and started firing. The humanitarians took to their heels and scampered for safety.

“While they were running, one of the MDM staff (an expat) fell to the ground and the soldier came upon her and stabbed her with knife multiple times until she gave up the ghost.

“The other humanitarians took to their heels all over the military base. While the soldier was stabbing the expat, his fellow soldier tried to disarm him but unfortunately he was also stabbed to death.

“The military authority immediately gave a standing order and the perpetrator (soldier) was gunned down.”

Commenting on the incident in a short interview with PREMIUM TIMES Friday morning, a top army officer said, “We should not only report this incident but it should also be an opportunity for deep conversation by all on the mental health of people handling guns, issues of battle fatigue and regular rotation of troops from high intensity operation and PTSD management.”

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