Two persons were hit by stray bullets during a scuffle between military and riot-policemen attached to the Bayelsa State Vigilante Service over traffic offence at Tombia-Etegwe Roundabout in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.
The victims, Miss Tarilayefa Ariweriyai (29) and Otunu Omanepemo (39), were hit by gunshots fired by one of the soldiers attached to an oil-servicing company in the state.
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An eyewitness said the soldier drove against the traffic and was challenged by some members of the Bayelsa State Vigilante Service.
It was learnt that a mobile policeman on the team slapped the soldier who was on mufti twice for challenging them.
“It was after receiving the slaps that the man introduced himself as a soldier and threatened to deal with the vigilante members and policemen at the scene.
“When they discovered that the man was a soldier, they pleaded with him to let the matter go. He pretended to have accepted the apology and drove off. Few minutes later, the soldier returned in uniform and with two armed colleagues.
“They swooped on the policemen and started hitting them with the butt of their rifles. The fighting continued until one of the policemen disarmed one of the soldiers. It was at that point the other soldiers started shooting.
“We all scampered for safety. When everything was calm, I came out of hiding and discovered that two persons that were by the roadside had sustained fatal gunshot injuries before the soldier fled the scene,” he said.
Daily Trust 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 rushed the victims to the Government House clinic where they were referred to the Federal Medical Center (FMC), Yenagoa.
Police spokesman in Bayelsa State, SP Asinim Butswat, who confirmed the incident, said the military and police authorities were investigating the incident for possible identification of the men involved.