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Task force raids scrapyard in Mpape, teargas residents

There was pandemonium Wednesday  morning at the Old Mpape Market in Abuja when operatives of the FCT Ministerial Task Force Team raided the scrapyard section…

There was pandemonium Wednesday  morning at the Old Mpape Market in Abuja when operatives of the FCT Ministerial Task Force Team raided the scrapyard section of the market popularly known as pantaker, arresting everyone on sight.

City News gathered that the operatives swooped on the area around 9:40am in 10 Toyota Hilux vans filled with armed security men from the armed forces, the police and paramilitary.

Witnesses told our reporter that police fired tear-gas canisters on arrival, and while people scampered to safety, they bundled anyone in their way into their vans.

“They arrested pedestrians and even some people who were eating in restaurants around the pantaker market,” one of the residents said.

One of the victims of the arbitrary arrests, who simply identified himself as Effiong, said he was freed while on transit to the station after the operatives collected N1000 from some of them while they took away those who did not have money on them.

“I was arrested before I could even runaway because I never had any reason to run by merely sighting the police until I heard ‘arrest all of them’ that was when I tried to run.

“On our way, they asked us if we had N1000 in cash to bail ourselves. Some of us who did were released while the rest who didn’t, were taken away”, Effiong said.

Another witness, Patience Dangana, who was in the market to buy a phone charger, said the nature of the arrest appeared to target only the pantakers but wondered why women who run restaurants around the place and pedestrians were also arrested.

“The task force members who included army, police, civil defense and mobile police drove here in more than 10 vehicles firing teargas and arresting people here in pantaker without anyone knowing the reason why they were being arrested.

“What surprised me most was that they also arrested women and people who were probably going to work”, Patience said.

Efforts to reach the task team chairman were unsuccessful at the time of filing this report.

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