By Emma Una
CALABAR—Many people sustained injuries as soldiers and mobile policemen clashed, yesterday morning, in Igoli, Ogoja Local Government area, Cross River State.
The clash reportedly started when a soldier named Hassan from the Brigadier Ally Army Cantonment, Ogoja, who parked his car in the front of a commercial bank, was asked to park properly, Monday.
An eyewitness, Frank, a councillor in the area, told Vanguard: “One of the security men attached to the bank approached him to park his car properly, as it was blocking the way. But the soldier became offended and started insulting the security man for having the gut to ask him to re-park his car.”
He said a mobile policeman attached to the bank then begged the soldier not to be offended and that the man was simply doing his job. But the appeal reportedly infuriated the soldier the more and he engaged the policeman in verbal exchange.
The councillor said: “The soldier drove away only to return this morning (yesterday) with his colleagues in a truck and they began to engage the policemen at the bank in physical combat, as gunshots rend the air.”
He said the shooting caused panic in the town and that banks and other businesses closed shop to avoid stray bullets, as the soldiers fired over 200 times into the air, while trying to drag the policemen into their truck.
He added: “There was a lot of panic in the town because of the shooting. I had to drive away from the bank.
“Normalcy returned when the Divisional Police Officer for Ogoja came to the scene and ordered the policemen, who had joined the fracas from the nearby area command, back to the station.”
Captain Kayode Owalabi, the Army Public Relations Officer for the 13 Army Brigade, Calabar, said he was aware of the incident but that it was “a fight between two people and nothing more.”