Silas Ninyo, the staff sergeant of the Nigerian army who killed his superior before taking his own life at Chibok in Borno state, reportedly took the tragic action as a result of jealousy.
One of his colleagues, who witnessed the sad incident which occurred on Sunday, told TheCable that the soldier became jealous over the way men went to his partner’s restaurant.
The witness said he was lucky to have escaped being shot by the deceased.
“He was fighting with Esther, his girlfriend,” the witness said.
“Esther runs a canteen at the market square, and the two have been lovers for more than two years, but Silas was always unhappy when he came around the restaurant and men were everywhere around his woman.”
TheCable gathered that Esther’s restaurant enjoys patronage from soldiers and civilians, and recently contractors and army engineers deployed to Chibok to reconstruct the Government Girls’ Secondary School where more than 200 schoolgirls were abducted by Boko Haram insurgents in April 2014.
The witness narrated that after trying effortlessly to defend herself, Esther took to self-defence.
“The fight became serious, and at a point, Esther had to grab a knife to defend herself,” the witness said.
“After separating them, the news reached his superior, Captain Tanko Mani, who wasn’t far from the scene. The captain called for him and asked why he was fighting with civilians. In an attempt to calm him, the captain told him to get in his own vehicle so that they return to the camp together, but he refused. He said he walked here himself and he will walk back to the camp and the captain can go.”
The captain, however, insisted that the soldier join him, and other soldiers at the scene began shouting at him to respect the standing order from a superior.
“He would agree, and walking toward the vehicle, he, suddenly, changed his mind, saying no, he will go with his legs,” the witness said.
Ninyo, who was reportedly drunk, had moved about 200m when the captain beckoned some patrolling soldiers to join him in ensuring they return to the camp with the erring soldier.
“When he saw that the number of soldiers with the captain had increased, he now turned back and was coming in their direction. As he moved closer, the captain had thought he was coming into the vehicle, and he spoke softly to him, extending a hand over to him.
“Suddenly, the soldier stopped, took two steps backward, cocked his rifle and opened fire on the captain.”
The witness told TheCable that they all started running, with the captain who had already been hit, but the solider continued shooting at the captain until he fell and died.
“The captain and I were running to take shield inside my shop, and he kept after the captain till he was down,” the witness narrated.
“He was just too jealous because a lot of men, after the day’s work at the site, do come to relax at Esther’s restaurant. And, in all that I know, Esther is not dating any of these men. I escaped, his bullet almost hit me, too. When he saw that the captain was dead, he shot himself dead, too.”
TheCable gathered that Mani was one of the bravest army officers in the 117 Battalion, 28 Brigade Task Force headquartered in Chibok, Borno state.
Esther is currently being questioned at the battalion in Chibok.
The Nigerian army had instituted a board of enquiry to look into the incident.
“The board of enquiry is expected to investigate the incident and promptly turn in its report and findings in one week,” Sani Usman, spokesperson of the army said on Sunday.