There was commotion on Monday at the Tombia-Etegwe roundabout in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital after operatives of the Nigeria Police Force and some men of the Nigerian Army engaged in a heated exchange.
Naija News learnt that the chaotic event started after a yet-to-be-identified soldier was slapped by a police officer attached to a vigilante group around the area.
It was reported that a soldier on mufti drove a van against the traffic around the roundabout and was challenged by some members of the Bayelsa State Vigilante Service. In the process of their argument, a mobile policeman attached to the vigilante group reportedly slapped the soldier for challenging them in spite of the fact that they violated a traffic rule.
Reports said the incident became tense after 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 with Daily Post on condition of anonymity explained that the local security group and the police officers present pleaded with the soldier after he revealed his identity. The soldier was said to have accepted their plea and left the scene.
However, a few minutes later, the soldier reportedly returned with two of his colleagues.
The soldier according to the report, returned to the scene the location in uniform and with two armed colleagues and descended on the officers from the sister agency.
“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 roadside had sustained gunshot injuries from the shootout.
“We later found out that the soldiers had fled the scene,” the trader told newsmen.
Naija News learnt 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 two victims of the incident were revealed as Miss Tarilayefa Ariweriyai (29) and Otunu Omanepemo (39).
The soldiers involved in the incident are suspected to be attached to an oil servicing company in the state.
Meanwhile, Alagba and some members of the vigilante group are said to have rushed the victims to the Government House clinic where they were referred to the Federal Medical Center (FMC) in Yenagoa.
One of the victims, 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 roundabout, I saw a scene where soldiers and some policemen were engaged in a serious argument and before anyone knew what was happening, gunshots were fired. And as I turn to run for safety, a bullet hit me at the buttocks,” he said.
As of the time of filing this report, the police are yet to issue an official statement about the incident, Naija News reports.