From Okey Sampson, Umuahia
Normalcy has returned to Ebem Ohafia community in Ohafia Local Government Area of Abia State after a shootout between soldiers of the 14 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Ohafia, and gunmen on Friday evening. The gun duel led to palpable tension in the community.
The fierce exchange of gunfire, it was gathered, caused panic in the area as residents and indigenes of the community scampered for safety, while others hid in their respective homes to prevent being caught in the crossfire.
There were two versions of reports about the incident. While one said the gunmen who evaded the community, were engaged by the soldiers in a heavy gun duel leading to panic in the community, another version had it that soldiers were searching homes and shooting sporadically in the community, forcing the residents to abandon their homes and fleeing.
The Nigerian Army has, however, cleared the air over the incident.
A senior officer of the 14 Brigade said the soldiers were neither searching homes nor shooting sporadically contrary to rumours making the rounds.
He said that the soldiers were on patrol in the area when some hoodlums opened fire on them, forcing the soldiers to respond.
The source said the situation had, however, been brought under control, adding that there were no causalities on both sides.
A similar incident which occurred in the community early last month claimed four lives, a soldier, two gunmen and a lady, Mary Ajunwa, hit by a stray bullet.