A joint security team in Abuja, FCT, successfully quelled an early morning raid on a small warehouse near the Kuje Area Council Secretariat by hoodlums in search of stored emergency palliatives.
Residents had scampered for safety and hurriedly withdrawn their wards from schools in the early hours of Tuesday when suspected thugs believed to have come from Kaduna and other areas attacked the mini-warehouse, carting away items and scattering stationaries along the road.
While business owners locked up shops, and markets, including the popular Kuje Main market, were shut in apprehension, people gathered in storefronts along the roads to monitor the situation and avert any attacks.
As at 11 am, most parts of Kuje are still chaotic and tense with young men, armed to the teeth with machetes, sticks and other weapons patrolled the roads to either defend their territories or attack enemies.
The situation, which brought commercial activities to a standstill and equally grounded human and vehicular movements, lasted from morning to the early hours of the afternoon.
When our correspondent visited the area near the secretariat, soldiers were seen meting punishment to about five apprehended hoodlums, including pouring water on their bleeding wounds.
An eyewitness told our correspondent in confidence that the hoodlums had taken over the street in the early hours of the morning, stopping vehicles and burning tyres on the road and confronting the combined team of the security agents with all manner of weapons, which resulted in the death of two of the raiders.
Although the eyewitness could not confirm who was actually responsible for the death of the two hoodlums, since the indigenes equally joined the attack to demobilise the hoodlums, the sight of the captured hoodlums, bleeding and lying helplessly opposite the secretariat, spoke volumes of the direct involvement of the military in quelling the attack.
‘You can see how the soldiers are dealing with these ones they caught. We were told that these hoodlums are not residents of Kuje but came from faraway in Kaduna and other parts of the country to mobilise Kuje boys for the attack on the mini-warehouse.
‘I can confirm to you that two of the hoodlums are already dead. But what I cannot, however, confirm to you is who actually was responsible for their deaths. It is difficult to say because the indigenes joined the security agents to bring the situation to normal.
‘The hoodlums had broken into that mini-warehouse near the Road Safety, thinking that they can easily vandalise and cart away the palliatives stored there, but they saw only stationaries as you can see them scattered on the road,’ the witness told Daily Sun.
Even as some shop owners started opening around 12 pm, several Hilux patrol vans loaded with battle-ready soldiers were still on patrol along the major roads in the Area Council.
A shop owner who spoke to our correspondent on phone said that he had to run for his life on seeing the hoodlums in the early hours of the morning when he opened his shop.
‘You know provision stores are always an easy target. So, when I saw the situation was very tense in the morning, I hurridly locked up because I knew that they came prepared. The Secretariat road became almost impassable before other shop owners locked up and either stayed around or returned home. These boys are looking very mean and prepared for anything,’ he said.