Ten people were killed and more than 30 injured when a policeman rammed his car into a group of children during an Easter procession in northeast Nigeria, before being killed himself by the angry crowd, witnesses and police sources told AFP Monday.
The deadly incident happened late Sunday when the off-duty policeman ploughed his car into a procession celebrating Easter in Gombe, state police spokeswoman Mary Mallum said.
“Ten people were killed, including the policeman and a paramilitary member who was with him,” Mallum said.
“We learnt the policeman and his friend who were not in uniform were attacked and killed by the angry crowd,” she said.
“Another 30 children were injured and are currently in hospital while the investigation is ongoing,” Mallum said.
According to witnesses at the scene contacted by AFP, the driver deliberately drove the car into the crowd following an altercation over the procession blocking the road.
“The driver of the car had a heated argument with the children before they made way for him to pass, only for him, in a fit of rage, to turn and drive into them,” said Isaac Kwadang, head of the Boys Brigade in Gombe.
“He did it on purpose,” Kwadang said.
Religious processions are common by Christian and Muslim adherents during festivities and religious observances in Nigeria in which roads are blocked, causing traffic chaos.
In December 2016 at least 13 Muslim school children were killed when a bus skidded off the road and rammed into a procession marking the birthday of Prophet Mohammed in Malam Side village, 20 kilometres from Gombe.