From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Two innocent civilians, on Monday, sustained fatal injuries when they were hit as a result of a clash between soldiers and policemen, at the popular Tombia Roundabout, in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state capital.
The two civilians identified as Ariweri Taralayefa, a female, aged 29, and Omonopeno Oturu, a male, aged 38, had been taken to the hospital where they were receiving adequate medical attention.
Investigations revealed that the clash arose from a misunderstanding over a traffic offence committed by a soldier who was on mufti.
A witness said that some members of the Bayelsa State Vigilance Service, at the Tombia Roundabout had stopped a white Toyota Hilux van without registration number, driving against traffic, and ordered the driver to go back.
The driver, who apparently was a soldier in mufti, shouted at the vigilance operatives, demanding to know who gave them the order to enforce traffic laws and refused to go back, leading to a heated argument.
“There was an ensuing heated argument and one of the policemen attached to the vigilance service slapped him (traffic offender) twice for challenging them after breaking traffic laws. It was at that point that the traffic offender introduced himself as a soldier, and promised to deal with the policeman and the vigilance operatives. When the policemen realised he was a soldier, they pleaded with him, but he left only to come back in military uniform with two of his colleagues,” the source said.
All hell was let loose at the return of the assaulted soldier and his colleagues, as they pounced on the policemen with the butt of their rifles.
“One of the policemen successfully disarmed one of the soldiers, which caused the other two soldiers to shoot indiscriminately. The policeman dropped the rifle, while he and his colleagues scampered for safety. At the end of the confusion, after the soldiers fled the scene, we discovered that two people standing by the roadside were lying on the ground, having been hit by stray bullets. The policemen took the two injured to the hospital,” a witness recounted.
Findings revealed that the two injured civilians were at the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, where they had been stabilised after receiving medical attention.
Meanwhile, the Bayelsa State Commissioner of Police, Ben Nebolisa Okolo, has appealed for calm, noting that the police and military authorities have launched an investigation to unmask the identities of the soldiers.
The Police Public Relations Officer, SP Asinim Butswat, in a statement entitled ‘Indiscriminate Shooting by men in Military camouflage’, confirmed that the occupants of the Hilux van drove against the traffic and were ordered to go back and follow the proper channel.
“Surprisingly, the men came back to the roundabout in military camouflage and started beating a vigilante. The police officers tried to separate them, but the men in military camouflage started shooting indiscriminately and, in the process, a stray bullet hit two civilian passersby, namely; Ariweri Taralayefa and Omonopeno Oturu. The victims have been treated and discharged from the hospital.”
The post 2 shot as soldiers, police clash in Bayelsa appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.
From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa