No fewer than 30 vehicles were damaged when some commercial motorcycle operators and soldiers on guard at the St. Mary Catholic Church, Karu, in the FCT, clashed on Sunday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt that the incident occurred around 1p.m. after one of the soldiers searched and allegedly found a dagger on one of the motorcycle riders.
The man was said to have hidden the knife in his clothes and attempted to go into the church premises.
Eugine Uba, the church’s Chief Security Officer, told reporters that the commercial motorcycle operator mobilised his colleagues to attack the soldiers after he was punished and allowed to go.
“In the process of searching him, a knife was found on the man.
“When asked what he wanted to do with the knife, the man threatened to kill anybody who dared come close to him,” he said.
Mr. Uba said that the commercial motorcycle operator and his colleagues barricaded the Nyanya-Karshi road, set fires and attacked vehicles as well as passersby.
The incident led to a heavy traffic holdup in the area; as more armed soldiers and anti-riot police were deployed to the neighbourhood restore peace.
The soldiers and policemen were reported to have fired shots as well as tear gas to disperse the rampaging motorcycle operators.
Many worshippers who were trapped in the area scampered to all directions for safety.
DSP Altine Daniel, the FCT Police Public Relations Officer, who confirmed the incident, said that normalcy had been restored.
“What actually happened was that there was a misunderstanding between a soldier and a motorcycle operator.
“After the misunderstanding, the operator went to mobilise his colleagues, who wanted to escalate the situation, but the prompt intervention of security operatives saved the situation,” she said.
Ms. Daniel said that there was no casualty in the incident.
She, however, said that investigations into the cause of the incident had begun.