By; Bala B. Bitrus, Minna.
Two hand held grenades in the possession of a serving Military personnel involved in the ongoing counter insurgency in Maiduguri has gone off killing four persons at Beri, in Mariga local government area of Niger State.
Security operatives including Military Intelligence Unit, Department of State Security Service, the Nigeria Police are combing through to find out what was the true motive behind the man and his explosives hundred of kilometers away from his duty post.
The service man identified as a 22 year old Private Mohammed Tanko, was until his tragic death attached to the 145 Battalion, Nigerian Army, Maiduguri.
Sources said Mohammed Tanko had obtained a pass, (a Military excuse) to travel home to see his family. But how he was able to beat security checks and sneaked out with the grenades remains a mistery.
Tanko who had arrived his Beri village a couple of days earlier was said to be in company of three of his female friends winding out around Mahuta area of Beri marke.
It was probably in an attempt to show off in the presence of his female friends, that he brought out one of the explosives to display it to his friends, that he mistakenly pulled off the pin on one of the grenade and it went off with a loud bang.
The first explosion triggered off the second grenades killing Tanko, his three female friends on the spot while its crater dug deep into the ground throwing off many of the onlookers nearby.
An eye witness to the incident said Tanko was in company of Wasila Adamu 14 years, Ruma Bello 20 years and Kulu Garba 12 years who all perished in the blast. Ten other persons cheated death as they narrowly escaped with various degrees of injuries and burns.
Our source said many of those who were injured in the blast, were onlookers who had gathered from close range to watch as Tanko tossed the grenades up several times to showcase his Military wizardry to the amazement of his female friends and passers by.
Reacting to the incidence, Police Public Relations Officer, (PPRO), Niger State Police Command, Bala Elkanah, confirmed the disaster.
He said the perforated and mangled bodies of Tanko and those of his three female friends were collected from the scene of the blast and deposited at the Kontagora General Hospital.
Bala Elkanah, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, DSP said security operatives have since cordoned off the scene and cleared the rubble.
“Police Anti Bomb Unit have taken over the scene of the blast” he said.
The explosion had caused pandemonium in the area leading to panic and confusion as many people scampered out of the village even as rumours about attack by Boko Haram insurgents tore through the village and surrounding neighbourhood.
The Niger State Police Command has however dispelled the rumours and advised people of the area to remain calm, insisting that there was no cause for alarm.