Two persons on Monday afternoon sustained severe gunshot injuries after a dispute ensued between a yet-to-be identified military men and mobile policemen attached to the Bayelsa State Vigilante Service.
The shootout occurred at popular Tombia-Etegwe roundabout in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa state capital.
The two victims, Miss Tarilayefa Ariweriyai (29) and Otunu Omanepemo (39), sustained injuries when one of the soldiers, suspected to be attached to an oil servicing company in the state, opened fire.
According to an eyewitness account, a soldier on mufty drove a van against the traffic and was challenged by some members of the Bayelsa State Vigilante Service, while both parties were arguing over the alleged offence, a mobile policeman attached to the vigilante group reportedly gave the soldier two slaps for challenging them in spite of the fact that he committed a traffic offence.
It was further gathered that after the alleged traffic offender had received the slaps, he introduced himself as a soldier, and threatened to deal with both vigilante members and policemen at the scene.
A trader at the roundabout, who spoke on condition of anonymity, explained that “when they discovered that the man is a soldier they pleaded with him to let the matter go.
“He, however, pretended to have accepted the apology and drove off only to come a few minutes later with two of his colleagues.
”They swooped on the policemen and started hitting them with the butt of their riffles. The fighting continued until one of the mobile policemen successfully disarmed one of the soldiers. It was at that point the other soldiers started shooting sporadically.
“We all scampered for safety. When everywhere was calm, I came out of hiding and discovered that two persons that were by the roadside had sustained gunshot injuries from the shoot out, we later found out that the soldiers had fled the scene”.
It was 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, Hon. 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) in Yenagoa.
One of the victims, Omanepemo, who identified himself as a businessman, said he was shot in the buttocks while he was on his way from Gbaratoru.
“As I got to the Tombia roundabout, I saw a scene where soldiers and some policemen were engaged in a serious argument and before anyone knew what was happening, gunshots were fired. And as I turn to run for safety, a bullet hit me at the buttocks,” he said.
As at the time of filing this report, the police is yet to issue a statement about the incident.