World Bulletin / News Desk
Dozen of Nigerian soldiers went on a rampage on Friday in the commercial capital Lagos after a public transport bus ran over a soldier on a motorcycle, eyewitnesses have said.
"The soldier was riding [a motorcycle] in the [bus] lane when the bus ran into him. It was a terrible situation as soldiers later mobilized to the scene of the incident," David Olayonu, who said he witnessed the incident while on a bus belonging to the government-owned Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) company, told Anadolu Agency.
"They broke windscreens of the bus and burnt at least four BRT buses plying the route," Olayonu added.
The incident instantly provoked hours-long traffic that crippled businesses along the popular Ikorodu Road and adjacent parts of the city.
Ismail Ologunde, a resident of Palm Grove who was at the scene of the incident, confirmed seeing torched BRT buses but could not say whether soldiers were the ones who set them ablaze.
"Four buses were burnt. I saw soldiers stopping BRT buses after their colleague was reportedly trampled to death by a BRT bus," Ologunde told AA.
"But I only saw a woman soldier breaking the windscreen of an approaching BRT bus. I cannot tell whether they burnt the four buses," he said.
The Lagos government outlawed the use of dedicated BRT lanes by other drivers, although the decision was later overturned by a court that said the regulation amounted to unlawful restriction.
Pictures of burnt-out BRT buses and a female soldier breaking a windscreen have gone viral on social media, provoking widespread criticism of soldiers who are frequently accused of mistreating civilians.
"Civilians are not cattle. Just because we don't carry guns doesn't mean we are inferior," Ayo Sogunro, an activist, tweeted.
Army spokesman Olajide Olaleye denied that soldiers had torched the buses or smashed their windscreens.
"The bus hit the soldier and killed him. But it is not true that soldiers were responsible for the burnt buses. The 'area boys' [street urchins] around the area took advantage of the situation," he told AA.Last Mod: 05 Temmuz 2014, 17:49