Two people have sustained gunshot injuries in a yet-to-be identified military men and mobile policemen attached to the Bayelsa State Vigilante Service engaged in scuffle over traffic offence at Tombia-Etegwe Roundabout in Yenagoa, the state capital.
Our correspondent gathered that the two victims, Miss Tarilayefa Ariweriyai (29) and Otunu Omanepemo (38) sustained the gun shot from shots allegedly fired by one of the soldiers suspected to be attached to an oil servicing company in the state.
According to eyewitness account, a soldier on mufti drove a van against the traffic and was challenged by some members of the Bayelsa State Vigilante Service. In the process of arguing over his alleged offence, a mobile policeman attached to the vigilante group reportedly gave the soldier two slaps for challenging them in spite of the fact that he committed a traffic offence.
It was also learnt that it was after receiving the slaps that the alleged traffic offender introduced himself as a soldier and threatened to deal with the vigilante members and policemen at the scene.
A trader at the roundabout, who spoke on condition of anonymity, explained that “when they discovered that the man was a soldier, they pleaded with him to let the matter go. He pretended to have accepted apology and drove off. A few minutes later, the soldier returned with two of his colleagues.”
Sources said the assaulted soldier 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 policemen successfully disarmed one of 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 gunshot injuries from the shoot-out and that the soldier had fled the scene.”
Our correspondent, however, gathered 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, Doubiye Alagba.
Alagba and some members of the vigilante group also took the victims to the Government House clinic where they were referred to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Yenagoa, while the police is yet to issue a statement about the incident.
One of the victims, Otunu Omanepemo, who identified himself as 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.”
The spokesman of the State Police Command, Asinim Butswat, confirmed the incident adding that military and police authorities were investigating the incident for possible identification of the men involved.