From Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki
Tragedy struck in Ndufu Echara community in Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State as a football fan whose name was given as Obinna Igwe was shot dead allegedly by the police when a fracas broke out at a match in the area.
Also, two other persons at the scene were wounded, while two police officers were injured during the imbroglio.
The football match, Saturday Sun gathered, was a Unity Cup competition organized by the chairman of the council, Elder John Nnabo, at Urban Secondary School, Ndufu Echara. It was the final bout between Ndufu Alike and Ndufu Echara teams.
According to eyewitnesses, trouble broke out when the Centre Referee issued a red card to one of the players on the Ndufu Alike team, which eventually resulted in his team conceding a goal in the second half.
The sources said that the unfavourable development did not go down well with the dismissed player as he allegedly returned to the pitch and launched attacks on the referee along with other players on the bench.
The incident, according to them, sparked a row, which resulted in some youths of Ikwo rampaging.
But for the intervention of some government officials at the scene, the youths would have had a serious showdown with the police. One of the stakeholders, Mr Onyekachi Nwoba, condemned the use of live ammunition by the police pointing out that their action was not in line with rules of engagement.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in the State, Mrs Loveth Odah, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, alleged that the fan was killed when the rampaging youths attempted to snatch a rifle from one of the policemen.
Odaa said that four police officers were critically injured during the fracas when police officers tried to stop angry fans from assaulting the officiating referee.