Two children have been hit by stray bullets during a clash between Nigerian Customs officers and petrol smugglers at Seme border in Lagos State.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the two children identified as 12-year-old Hunsu Taiwo and 10-year-old Ganjo Henry, were playing in a Sokenu compound of Seme when they were hit by stray bullets on Friday.
Hussaini Abdullahi, customs spokesperson in Seme, confirmed the incident in a statement, saying the boys who were hit at the back and ankle, survived after receiving treatment at the customs clinic in the area.
“On Friday, July 3, at about 5p.m, a joint patrol team of command, based on credible intelligence went on an operation along Seme Carpenter village and identified a hideout used by some unpatriotic elements to stockpile petrol for onward smuggling to Benin Republic.
“In an effort to evacuate the said items from the scene, some unscrupulous elements launched a vicious attack and aggressively advanced towards the scene of the seizure with assorted dangerous weapons with a desirous effort to set the place ablaze.
“Considering the volatility of the seized items and the fact that all efforts short of using force to halt the mob from advancing towards the scene proved abortive, officers were left with no option than to use their firearms in order to defend themselves and avoid the envisaged catastrophe.
“However, verifiable information later received indicated that two young innocent boys were injured by stray bullets at back and ankle,” the statement read.
Abdullahi added that the customs is working with the family of the children to provide needed support and assistance.
“This gave room for prompt treatment of the patients at Customs facility and were consequently discharged strictly based on medical advice,” Abdullahi said.
“On this note, the command wishes to register its unreserved displeasure with this unfortunate incident.
“As a responsible and responsive service, we are working round the clock to partner with the family by providing all the necessary support to cushion the effect of this tragedy.”
Abdullahi said the renewed hostility by smugglers and their accomplices would never be a distraction in discharging its statutory responsibilities. He promised that smugglers would always meet there waterloo with no breathing space in Seme command.
KanyiDaily had also reported how two custom officers died in a ghastly auto crash while pursuing suspected rice smugglers along the East-West Road linking Eket and Oron local government areas of Akwa Ibom.