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Friday, June 15, 2018

Gobe;- Soldiers Fought With Police In Aba, 3 Dead (Read Details)

Three persons were on Friday reported dead in Aba, the
commercial nerve of Abia State as personnel of the
Nigerian Army attached to the Ngwa Hig h.

School Forward Operation Base (Charlie Coy) and
personnel of Mobile Police Force (PMF 55) unit in
Osisioma Local Government Area of the State.

While a yet to be confirmed report has it that a police
officer’s hand was severed in the shootout, another report
has it that two mobile policemen and a soldier died in the
melee.

It could be recalled that in 2015, soldiers from Ngwa High
School FOB and policemen of PMF 55 clashed at the
same Osisioma junction, leaving a policeman who was
hit by a bullet during crossfire that lasted for about thirty
minutes dead.

While efforts to reach both police and army hierarchy in
the state until the time of this report failed to yield fruits
as the State Commissioner of Police and the spokesman
of the Command, Michael Ogbizi and Geoffrey Ogbonna
were yet to reply to a text message our correspondent
sent to their phones.

Sources who claimed to have witnessed the incident
feared that incident which caused pandemonium at the
major exit and entrance route into the commercial nerve
of the state also wounded many passersby.

According to one Chinyere Ikem, the incident forced many
shop owners to quickly close for business while many
petty traders along the Expressway abandoned their
wares to scamper for safety as lorry load of mobile and
regular policemen arrived the scene that is already
charged with gunshots.

Ikem said that while some passengers going to different
parts of the country that were yet to board vehicles to
their locations were trapped in the shootout, others
coming into the country, used alternative routes to avoid
being caught in the web of the crisis.

“It happened like what we used to watch in American
movies. It happened in a flash and before you know what
is happening, trucks of army and police vans were
everywhere.

Police and army were shooting themselves face-to-face.
From what we later learnt, two policemen and a soldier
died in the gun duel. It is better seeing that being told.

I don’t know what is happening at this Osisioma junction.
Don’t forget that some time ago, police and army clashed
here and shoot at each other leaving one policemen
dead.

“I saw some people running with blood stain and I guess
that they were hit be stray bullets. Police and army
leadership in the state should call themselves to order.

They are sister agencies and I don’t think that it is in
their own interest to be fighting among themselves when
they are supposed to be working hand in hand with each
other especially as the state Governor is doing his best in
tackling insecurity in the state,” Ikem stated.

While normalcy has since returned to the area at the time
our reporter visited the scene, shop owners were yet to
open for business as people in clusters recount their
experience of the incident.

However in a swift reaction, Abia State Government in a
press release through the commissioner of information in
the state, Chief John Okiyi said that the state received
with sadness “disturbing reports of an unfortunate
confrontation between a group of soldiers and police
officers at the Osisioma area of Aba earlier today (Friday
June 15).”

Okiyi who said that the state government was working
with heads of security to bring the situation under control
also assured that investigation was ongoing to know the
cause of the incident and to fish out those behind the
incident.

“We are working with the heads of the concerned security
agencies in the state to ensure that the situation, which
has been brought under control, does not repeat itself or
escalate within the state.

“Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has also directed full
investigation of the circumstances that led to the breach
of public peace with a view to preventing future
occurrence of such armed confrontation that endanger the
lives of innocent citizens and security agents working in
the state.

“While we are currently working with law enforcement
agencies to review the immediate and remote cause of
the incidence, members of the public are advised to go
about their normal duties as the situation around the area
has been pacified.

“Those responsible for this breach of public peace will
certainly be unraveled and punished according the law,”
Okiyi added.

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