Soldiers in Warri, Delta State, have killed a woman on her way to her daughter’s wedding on Saturday at Ekpan junction near Effurun market in Uvwie Local Government Area.
Sources said that the woman whose identity was not immediately known was shot dead by the after a stray bullet of overzealous soldiers at about 8:00 am during the monthly environmental sanitation exercise held in the state.
The soldiers who were reportedly monitoring the monthly sanitation exercise also assaulted the Sun Newspaper Correspondent, Emmanuel Ogoigbe for reporting them.
The source who spoke to THEWILL said that the soldier had fired the shot to scare some tricycle operators from plying the route during the monthly sanitation exercise but the bullet hit the woman who was boarding another tricycle to the wedding venue in the metropolis.
“The victim with her little baby were inside the keke (tricycle) when the gun-trotting military man aimed at the passengers in the keke and bullet immediately pierced through the woman from behind and pierce through the stomach killing her immediately,” the source said.
Sources added that Ogoigbe had reportedly alerted the Amry Commander Major Azanku who immediately deployed a team of soldiers to the scene which became chaotic after the incident but got a dose of what he didn’t bargain for as a group of soldiers pounced on him.
The army team led by staff sergeant O. Joseph, got infuriated when Ogoigbe reportedly told him that the reason for the chaos was because a soldier shot a woman dead, rather than receive a pat, the soldiers threw him on the bare floor and asked him to roll on the ground.
“I was asked to jump into the dirty three inches gutter. It took the intervention of a fellow soldier and scores of sympathizers to plead for my release after thirty minutes of torture,” he lamented.
“One of the soldiers hit me with the butt of the gun, kicked me severally as if that was not enough a neighbour who just waved at me, expressing sympathy was questioned for ten minutes even when staff Sgt. Joseph continued calling me a criminal and also took my photograph.”
Commenting on the incident, first born of the deceased woman, who gave her name as Alero, told newsmen that the keke rider did not stop when he was flagged down by the soldiers which resulted in the killing of her mother.
She however said that the reason was not enough for one of the soldiers to release bullets on her mother.
Alero, who was speaking from Ekpan Police Station where the case has been reported, said the killer-soldier has been whisked away by members of the JTF contrary to reports that he has been arrested.
According her, colleagues of the killer-soldier at the roadblock where the incident happened, have been taken to Warri Area Command for interrogation.
“They have not arrested the soldier. JTF whisked him away. His colleagues that they were at the road block together are now at Warri Area Command. It was my Mom that was shot, not my sister that is wedding today. She was coming from the wedding,” she said incoherently.
It was not however clear whether the soldiers were from 3 Battalion, Nigerian Army, Effurun as all effort to reach the Commanding Officer of 3 Battalion, Major Azanku, proved abortive.
Meanwhile, State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Celestina Kalu, confirmed the killing.
Kalu said police operatives were currently investigating the dastardly act, adding that there were procedures in arresting an erring soldier if he is not voluntarily handed over by the army.
She added that the daughter of the deceased had reported to the Ekpan Police Station that her mother was felled by a soldier’s bullet at Jakpa.Thewill.