Yola — FIVE people died yesterday in skirmishes between the operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and members of Loko village in Song Local Government Area of Adamawa State.
The members of the community were said to have risen against the NDLEA officials over the killing of three cassava farmers who the agency believed were drugs dealers.
They were said to have killed two personnel of the NDLEA in the terrifying reprisal attacks. Eyewitnesses said they counted five people who died in the clashes, which lasted several hours.
One of the eyewitnesses alleged that the NDLEA officials came to Loko village around 11 a.m. and killed three young men suspected to be dealing in cannabis, also known as Indian hemp.
He said the incident actually started with hot arguments and a dispute aroused thereafter, and subsequently resulted in gunshots, which killed the three farmers.
Eyewitnesses insisted that irate youths in the community rose in reprisal attacks. The youths seized the two NDLEA officials.
Members of the community insisted that the slain men were farmers, who were known to be good citizens and never had a record of smoking India hemp, much less selling it.
The Adamawa State Police Command yesterday drafted heavy detachment of anti-riot policemen to the community to restore peace and maintain law and order.
Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Nemuel Yoila, who confirmed the incident, told newsmen that he could not talk on the casualty.
‘We are awaiting report from the DPO of Song, that is why I cannot confirm the casualty figure right away,’ he said.
The police spokesperson added, ‘This morning, we were alerted about a protest in Loko, following the clash between NDLEA personnel and some youths in the community; thereafter, we responded promptly by dispatching our men to the community and about now, I can assure you we are on top of the situation.’
When The Moment visited the community, their leaders, who were still lamenting over the dead, decried what they called ‘extra judicial killings by armed personnel,’ stressing that government should checkmate the activities of armed servicemen to forestall future occurrence.
A road side trader, who pleaded anonymity, said they are fed up with the kind of intimidation they are facing daily from these NDLEA people, accusing the agency’s officials of extorting money from their people. ‘If you don’t give, they charge you with peddling hard drugs,’ he said.
Efforts to reach the NDLEA command in the state proved abortive as officers at the gate barred our correspondent from entering after several pleas. The officers at the gate politely insisted that those authorised to speak on the matter were inaccessible.