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Youths protest as soldier ‘kills’ man in Imo community

There was apprehension in Assa community in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State when an unidentified soldier allegedly shot and killed a 45-year-old petty…

There was apprehension in Assa community in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State when an unidentified soldier allegedly shot and killed a 45-year-old petty trader simply identified as Chinedu.

The incident, which happened at Afor Assa market on Wednesday night, was said to have caused serious tension in the area as villagers took cover in nearby bushes for fear of being hit by stray bullets.

According to a village source, who spoke anonymously for fear of being targeted, the youths had intercepted a truck laden with locally refined crude oil that was being accompanied to an unknown location by soldiers who were in the community on special duty.

The youths were said to have demanded that the owners pay them money before they could be allowed to continue their journey.

The source said: “The army men prevented the owners of the truck from giving the youths any money. In the resulting disagreement, the soldiers got angry and shot sporadically to scare the youths.”

However one of the shots hit the victim in the upper region of his chest and he died on the spot.

It was gathered that another youth, who was hit by the bullet, was rushed to a hospital for emergency attention.

Having realised that they have shot somebody, the soldier ran away with the truck driver leaving the truck behind.

In anger, the youth set the truck with its content ablaze.

As at the time of writing, the dead body is yet to be deposited at the mortuary.

He said: “The road to the community is said to be deserted and dry, while people were forced to confine themselves in their houses for fear of the unknown”.

Dialogue with military for peace

The traditional ruler of Assa autonomous community, Eze Emmanuel Assor, when contacted, told our correspondent that the community was in dialogue with the military authorities to ensure that there was lasting peace between them and the community.

He said, “We are in talks with the military. We want to make sure that such a thing does not happen again and there is lasting peace.

“We are also working to ensure that there is lasting peace between both parties.”

The President-General of the community, Mr Bartholomew Obodo, said that he had met with the Garrison commander and efforts were on to ensure that the culprits were arrested.

Amy spokesman not aware

The Army Public Relations Officer of 34 Artillery Brigade Command, Obinze, Owerri, Babatunde Zubairu, said he was not aware.

However, the Police Public Relations Officer, Orlando Ikeokwu, confirmed the incident.

Ikeokwu said the soldiers were not accompanying the persons carrying the locally refined crude oil, rather arrested them and were taking them to the military base in the community before the youths intercepted them.

Ikeokwu, said that it was in a bid to ward off the youths who became violent that the military allegedly shot consistently in the air and unfortunately a bullet hit the victim and he died.

The PPRO said that a police detachment was drafted to the scene to restore normalcy, adding that the Commissioner of Police in the state, Nasiru Muhammed, had ordered an investigation into the matter.