Thursday, February 18, 2010

Benin: Five Die in Police, Soldiers' Clash in Benin

Tension mounted in Benin City on Thursday evening as five persons were feared killed with several others injured during a clash between mobile policemen and soldiers at the Ogida Barracks, along Siluko Road, in the Edo State capital.

Daily Independent gathered that the five, two soldiers and three mobile policemen, met their death during a shoot out between a team of soldiers who invaded the police barracks to demand the release of a suspect who allegedly ran to the place for refuge.

Ten other persons, including civilians, sustained serious injuries during the clash and were receiving treatment in an undisclosed hospital, according to witnesses.

Different versions of stories are being told as cause of the incident as at press time.

A version has it that trouble started at a checkpoint along Siluko Road when some mobile policemen harassed some soldiers.

The soldiers were said to have mobilised to the Ogida Barracks where two mobile policemen were shot and killed.

Another version was that two soldiers had gone to the barracks in search of a mobile policemen who one of the soldiers suspected was dating his girlfriend.

Quarrel was said to have ensued between the soldiers and the mobile policeman, which resulted in the shooting of the mobile policeman while another one was hit by a stray bullet.

Mobile policemen attached to the barracks were said to have retaliated by killing the two soldiers.

This has generated tension in the state as some mobile policemen have reportedly started relocating their families from the barracks for fear of reprisal attacks from the soldiers.

As at press time, top military officers were meeting with top hierarchy of the police led by Commissioner of Police, Danlami Yar'Adua, with a view to quelling the crisis.

A source at the military command said: "It is not true that we lost two men, but I can tell you that our people are meeting to settle the crisis. It is unfortunate, but it will be settled tonight".

State police spokesman, ASP Peter Ogboi, could not be reached for comments.

By Francis Onoiribholo

Source: Daily Independent (11/02/2010)

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