The late Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (rtd), former chief of defense staff, was in his Toyota Tundra truck with registration number MUB 396 AA when he was shot by some unknown gunmen at a location in Gitata community on Keffi-Bade road, Nasarawa state.
Speaking on the unfortunate development, some residents of the community said Badeh was shot as he made his way from his farm between Koso and Kugwaru communities. They said the deceased chose to go through Panda road off the Keffi-Bade highway due to the dilapidation of the Mararaba route, Daily Trust reports.
QUEEN AMINA BLOG gathers that the windscreen of Badeh’s truck was pierced by bullets, its windows shattered, its bonnet ridden with bullets. The front tyre of the passenger side was also blown out.
Some residents also disclosed that the layout of the crime scene was consistent with the style of operation of gunmen who regularly attack travelers in the area.
Witnesses reportedly described Badeh as being seated in front beside the driver, and shot in the trunk. They said they did not know the victim was the former chief of defense staff until his death was announced by the Air Force.
One witness identified as Idris Musa, who spoke in Hausa, said the incident happened at about 6:45pm on Tuesday, December 18. He said he was informed about an ongoing robbery on the road after being stopped by some drivers at Unguwar Mangoro, as he drove to Gitata from Keffi.
He said he parked his vehicle by the roadside while looking out for oncoming vehicles near the bush, when he saw a vehicle run into the robbers.
He said: “This very man was coming with his car, Tundra, when he now switched on his head light. Then they started shooting at his car.”
Musa added that he counted about 10 gunshots before he fled into the bush in fear, until he was called out by his colleagues after the gunmen left.
He said: “When they went there, they saw the driver injured on the arm and another man already dead in the car. He was shot in the stomach.”
He said a bandage was wrapped around the injured driver’s arm by soldiers.
He added: “This is the third time in this month that something like this happens. Two people have been killed and one kidnapped this month.”
Musa said Badeh was shot few minutes from Zango Gitata, a community located between two military checkpoints. Also on the Keffi-Bade road is the Shitu Alao Barracks.
A trader in Gitata, one Joshua Ade, however, stated that gunmen could operate about three times in a day before the two checkpoints were mounted.
He said: “At times they come out three times in a day. We thank God because of the soldiers at the checkpoints. Then we do hear gunshots from here.”
Ade said he saw the Tundra go by on the road on Tuesday while he was at his makeshift shop where he sells car spare parts. Few minutes later, soldiers at the Gitata checkpoints were seen speeding in opposite direction.
He said: “It was this morning (Wednesday) that I got to know that the man was prominent. This month it is up to two times. Two weeks ago, they operated and kidnapped about six people. It has been happening before; it is because of this man that died which I think is an elderly person or top government official that everyone is hearing it.
“Since last night, soldiers are going up and down. They mount road blocks down there and about 10 of their vehicles have been patrolling the area.”
Another resident, Abdul Gitata, said he was attacked thrice and once shot at by the gunmen whom he said were usually dressed in military uniforms.
He said: “The last time that I encountered them, almost two months, they shot at my car and broke three of my tyres. They usually lie down in the bush and just start shooting at the car. When you stop, they will kidnap people and go.
“That place is a bush, no houses there and there is a bending corner. Normally if you hear any armed robbery incident, it is that place. When you are coming from Keffi, your mind won’t rest until you cross the place. They operate even in the day.
“They (gunmen) used to have information. When security are patrolling, you won’t see them; but when soldiers are gone, they now operate.”
Meanwhile,QUEEN AMINA BLOG (www.ivyukula.com)previously reported that President Muhammadu Buhari described the killing of Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (rtd) as “very sad and unfortunate.”
The president, in a statement by his special adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Wednesday, December 19, commiserated with the family of the late four-star general, his friends and professional colleagues in the military.
President Buhari also condoled with the people and government of Adamawa over the demise of the former chief of defence staff.