YOLA, Nigeria (Reuters) – Three protesters were killed and four others injured when soldiers opened fire on demonstrators in a farming community in Nigeria’s Adamawa state, three sources told Reuters.
The protesters in the northeastern state were demonstrating against kidnappings for ransom that have plagued the area as well as what residents said was harassment by soldiers and police.
“There is serious demonstration going on now due to rampant kidnapping and excessive use of force on us by soldiers and police,” local resident Musa Mallum told Reuters.
A local leader of the road transport workers union (NURTW) in the area told Reuters by phone that the bodies of those killed were being prepared for burial.
DSP Suleiman Y. Nguroje, a police spokesman in the state, confirmed that an incident had taken place, but said he was unaware of any deaths or injuries. Spokesmen for the Nigerian Army did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In addition to rising kidnappings and violence across Nigeria, Adamawa state is a focal point of violence between farmers and herders. In the past several years, there have also been allegations from locals and campaign groups of human rights abuses by the military. The military has previously denied all wrongdoing.
Reporting By Percy Dabang in Yola; writing by Libby George in London; editing by Chris Reese