By Timipre Ndoni
Two residents identified as Miss Tarilayefa Ariweriyai ’29’ and Otunu Omanepemo ’39’ were escaped being killed in a police and soldiers clash in Bayelsa state on Monday.
The clash evolved between mobile policemen attached to the Bayelsa State Vigilante Service and suspected Military men at Tombia-Etegwe Roundabout in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.
An account by Naija Tv said, a soldier on mufty drove a van against the traffic and was challenged by some members of the Bayelsa State Vigilante Service, adding that in the ensuring process of argument over the alleged traffic offence, a mobile policeman attached to the vigilante group allegedly gave the soldier two slaps for challenging them in spite of the fact that he committed a traffic offence.
The source said that after the slaps that the alleged traffic offender introduced himself as a soldier, and threatened to deal with the policemen and vigilante members at the scene.
According to a trader at the roundabout as cited by Naija TV “when the police and vigilantes discovered that the man is a soldier they pleaded with him to allow the matter die. Though, it was alleged that the soldier pretend to have accepted the apology and drove off and return with two of his colleague.
According to the source, the assaulted soldier later came back on uniform and with two armed colleagues, ” they swooped on the policemen and started hitting them with the butt of their riffles. The fighting continued until one of the mobile policeman successfully disarmed one the soldiers. It was at that point the other soldiers started shooting sporadically.”
“We all scampered for safety. When everywhere was calm, I came out of hiding and discovered that two persons that were by the road side had sustained fatal gunshot injuries from the shootout and the soldiers fled the scene immediately.”
The report had it that the cartridge of the rifle belonging to the disarmed soldier had been dropped at the Akenfa Divisional Police Station where the incident was reported by the State Vigilante Group led by its Chairman, Hon. Doubiye Alagba.
The vigilante chairman and some members of the Vigilante group reportedly rushed the victims to the Government House clinic where they were reffered to the Federal Medical Center (FMC) in Yenagoa.
One of the victims, Otunu Omanepemo, a businessman, said he was shot in the buttocks while he was on his way from Gbaratoru” as I got to the Tombia round about, I saw a scene where soldiers and some policemen were engaged in a serious argument and before anyone knew what was happening, gun shots were fired. And as I turn to run for safety, a bullet hit me at the buttocks.”
However, the police commissioner of the state had appealed for calm, stating that the incident was unfortunate but collective synergy is ongoing between the military and the police authorities to unravel the circumstances surrounding the incident.