The Joint Task Force (JTF) codenamed ‘Operation Restore Order’ in Borno State yesterday denied reports of an attack on the El-Amin Daggash Mosque in Maiduguri, the state capital on Saturday evening during the Ramadan Tafsir.
Information Nigeria had earlier reported of a botched attack on the Mosque by some gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect, but the JTF spokesman, Lt Col Sagir Musa said no such attack took place.
Instead, he said there was pandemonium when a policeman in mufti, who pursued a petty thief to the vicinity of the mosque, fired two shots into the air.
In a statement made available to newsmen, Lt.Col Musa said, “The Joint Task Force (JTF) Operation Restore Order wishes to clear the air on what happened at the vicinity of El-Amin Daggash Mosque in GRA, Maiduguri on Saturday 20, July, 2013. The incident was not a terrorist attack as no worship centre in Borno state was attacked in recent time.”
According to him, there was pandemonium when a policeman pursued someone, who allegedly stole a tricycle and a bag of rice to the vicinity of the mosque.
He added that the policeman, who was in Mufti pursued the alleged thief to the vicinity of the mosque and fired two shots which led to panic in the area as the Ramadan preaching was going on at the mosque.
“The firing by the policeman attracted the attention of worshipers including youth vigilante group that were within and around the mosque. As a result, there was pandemonium that led to the death of a minor while three others sustained injuries”, the statement read.
According to him, the youth vigilante group popularly known as “civilian JTF”, attempted to lynch the policeman but were unsuccessful as he was rescued by the JTF, who took him away.