Facts on how the late Army General, Hassan Ahmed, was shot dead by gunmen on Thursday night have emerged.
A reliable source, who spoke with our reporter who visited the scene on Friday, said the late senior army officer was attacked by gunmen who emerged from the bush at a bridge around Ahoko village, along the Abuja-Lokoja road about 7:34 pm.
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He said the deceased officer was travelling alongside his sister inside a Toyota Hilux van with an unmarked army plate number.
He said the gunmen, who were hiding inside the bush beside the edges of the bridge, suddenly opened fire upon sighting the Hilux van conveying the late General.
“My house is not far from the highway. Immediately I heard the sporadic sound of gunshots, it occurred to me that they must be kidnappers,” he said.
The source said he immediately mobilised some youths to the scene and discovered the lifeless body of the army officer inside the vehicle.
According to him, the Hilux van veered off the road and hit the edges of the bridge.
He said it was quite disheartening that a senior army officer would travel on the highway without an escort or orderly.
“It was the concrete pillar of the bridge that waged the vehicle, if not, the vehicle would have fallen into the river because the driver lost control after they opened fire at the vehicle,” he added.
A vigilante, who also spoke with our reporter, said he placed a call to the chairman of Kogi-Kotonkarfe Local Government Area, Isah Abdulkarim, who immediately arrived at the scene.
“I got to the scene and discovered that the man was an army officer. Even though he was not wearing army uniform, the vehicle was carrying army plate number,” he said.
He said some soldiers, vigilantes and hunters groups had combed some forests along the Abuja-Lokoja road in order to see how the abducted sister of the late Army General would be rescued.
The chairman of Abaji Area Council, Alhaji Abdulrahman Ajiya, has clarified that the late Army General was not murdered in his domain, saying the scene of the incident was under the jurisdiction of Kogi State.
Meanwhile, security operatives from the army and police have launched a manhunt for the killers of the former Provost Marshall, Major-General Hassan Ahmed.
His remains were laid to rest yesterday at a military cemetery in Abuja, amidst tears from family members and associates.
Our correspondent who was at the cemetery reports that the widows, family members, young officers and some colleagues of the deceased broke in tears when the Nigerian flag was presented to his wives.
It had earlier been reported that the assailants, according to a family member, also kidnapped his wife when they were coming from Okene, a town in Kogi State, but the Nigerian Army clarified that it was Ahmed’s sister, Safina that was kidnapped.
The wives of the deceased were present at the Guards Brigade Cemetery, popularly called Lungi Barracks Cemetery in Abuja yesterday, where their late husband was buried.
A senior military officer who spoke in confidence with Daily Trust Saturday at the cemetery told one of our correspondents that both overt and covert operations had since begun at the location of the incident since it happened on Thursday.
Asked how the incident happened, the officer declined to give details but said that those involved in the dastardly act would be tracked down.
Similarly, a former spokesman of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier-General Sani Usman (retd), in an interview with journalists shortly after the late officer was interred, said the perpetrators of the evil act would not go scot-free.
Speaking during the burial ceremony, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Farouk Yahaya, described the incident as “‘sad and shocking.”
He pledged that he would ensure that widows of the late senior officer and his family members would be taken care of.