■ 3 feared killed
Okey Sampson, Aba
There was pandemonium yesterday in Aba, Abia state as soldiers believed to be from the Ngwa High School Forward Operation Base (Charlie Coy) and personnel of Mobile Police Force (PMF 55) unit in Osisioma near Aba engaged in heavy shootout said to have claimed the lives of three persons. Some passersby were also believed to have been wounded during the incident.
Witnesses said two policemen and one soldier died in the shootout, which lasted for hours at the ever busy Osisioma Junction. The casualty figure could however not be confirmed as at press time.
It was gathered that a policeman and two soldiers had altercations close to the army base and the soldiers wanted to take the policeman to their base in a show of superiority.
Some policemen who were on duty at the Osisioma Junction were said to have intervened and pleaded with the soldiers to allow him to go.
The soldiers reportedly ignored the plea of the policemen and in an attempt to get their man off the hook, they engaged the soldiers in fisticuffs.
Both parties were said to have called for reinforcement, which led to the heavy shooting that reportedly took the lives of two policemen and a soldier.
Hell was let loose as the incident which occurred at the Osisioma Ngwa junction along the Enugu –Port Harcourt expressway, caused panic among motorists and shop owners who fled to safety. Several vehicles were abandoned on the expressway as their owners ran for dear lives.
According to an eyewitness, Chinyere Ikem who spoke to newsmen, said the incident forced many shop owners and petty traders along the expressway to abandon their wares while a lorry load of mobile and regular policemen arrived the scene as re-enforcement.
Ikem said that while some passengers going to different parts of the country that were yet to board vehicles going to their locations were trapped in the shootout, others coming into the city 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.
“I saw some people running with blood stained clothes and I guess that they were hit by stray bullets”, Ikem stated.
It could be recalled that this is the fourth time soldiers and policemen would clash in Aba since the army was drafted to the area to quell kidnapping in 2010.
Normalcy has since returned to the area as at the time of filing the report. Police and military authorities in the city who were contacted over the incident, declined comments. However, Abia State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Anthony Ogbizi said he was yet to be briefed about the incident, adding that “It will be too hasty for me to talk now. Let me get the full details of the incident.”