There was chaos at the Borno State Government House in Maiduguri today as soldiers and policemen engaged in gun battle over rice meant for internally displaced persons.
The Government House is besieged daily by thousands of internally displaced persons within Maiduguri metropolis, who choose to stay outside of the designated camps.
The IDPs, who queue for hours to receive rise and other relief items, often cause gridlock around the Government House with many of them having to go back empty handed each day.
The situation, however, turned violent on Thursday afternoon when the soldiers that were deployed to maintain law and order tried to benefit from the largess.
The soldiers were said to have tried to force their way into the Deputy Governor’s Office, the place designated for the distribution, to get their vehicles filled.
An attempt by the mobile policemen attached to the office to prevent the soldiers from achieving their goal led to a shootout.
It was gathered that the soldiers fired several warning shots and the mobile policemen shot back in return, while also firing canisters of tear gas.
The conflict led to a stampede with many of the IDPs injured as they scampered for safety.
It was also gathered that a policeman was shot in one of his legs in the gun battle.
It took the intervention of the Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj. Gen. Lucky Irabor, to get the furious soldiers to withdraw from the battle, which caused panic across Maiduguri.
It was gathered that Irabor, the most senior military officer around, and the Commissioner of Police, Aminchi Baraya, subsequently visited the injured policeman at the hospital.