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Four dead, six injured in auto crash as smuggler attempts to avoid Customs checkpoint

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No fewer than four persons have lost their lives along the Sokoto-Illela Road as a smuggler tried to evade a checkpoint mounted by personnel of the Nigeria Customs Service.

The PUNCH reported that the failed evasion caused a data accident involving three commercial vehicles, leaving six others injured on Sunday.

A witness revealed that the suspected smuggler collided with another car while trying to evade the Customs officials, who were on a stop-and-search duty at the checkpoint at Asara along the Illela border command in Sokoto State.

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On citing the tragic accident, a mob turned against the Customs officials and blamed them for the crash.

Two vehicles belonging to the NCS were set ablaze by the mob, the witness added.

The source said, “One of the drivers suspected to be conveying rice and vegetable oil from the Illela end of the border, in an attempt to evade arrest, ran into a Customs checkpoint located at Asara village.

“The Customs personnel obstructed the driver in a bid to stop the vehicle for a search and that caused the driver to lose control. The car had a head-on collision with an oncoming vehicle and other cars coming from behind crashed into the two.

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“Four persons were pronounced dead on the spot in two of the vehicles, while no fewer than six persons sustained varying degrees of injury in the crash.

“The injured persons were later taken to the Gwandabawa General Hospital for medical attention.

“It took the intervention of the men of the Nigerian Army, who were drafted to the scene, to prevent further attacks against Customs facilities in the area,” the eyewitness added.

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An official of the Sokoto State Command of the NCS, who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed the mob attack.

“The officials were only carrying out their legitimate duties by preventing the entrance of contraband into the country as stipulated by extant laws. It is unfortunate that the mob carried out an attack on them,” he stated.

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