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In Edo: Soldiers kill vigilante in error, free arrested herdsmen

Soldiers kill vigilante in error, free arrested herdsmen in Edo

The vigilante was killed while his colleagues were searching for more suspected armed robbers in the area.

Soldiers of the Nigerian Army allegedly shot a local vigilante, Efe Igbnovia, to death in Obadolovbiyeyi community in the Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of Edo State and freed two herdsmen in his custody who were suspected armed robbers.

According to a report by The Punch, the incident happened on Wednesday, February 14, 2018, while Igbnovia was watching over the suspects with his comrades searching the area for more suspects who had allegedly staged a robbery on the Benin-Abraka Expressway.

The soldiers arrived the community in a Honda car with the number plate, AP 641 KTN, and killed Igbnovia as they fired continuously.

The soldiers reportedly set the imprisoned herdsmen free after the vigilante was killed.

Residents protest against injustice

A few angry residents of the community showed outrage at the shooting by blocking the path of a commercial bus conveying two of the herdsmen earlier arrested to the Benin Central Hospital for medical treatment.

The crowd had to be dispersed by operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

One of the protesters, Henry Osemwengie, explained that six herdsmen had been arrested by the vigilante group and handed over to police authorities.

He said, "Two other herdsmen, suspected to be members of the gang, were later caught. Igbinovia was asked to stay with them. Before then, the police had been called to come to pick them (herdsmen) because that is what we usually do.

"Suddenly, a red Honda car with about four men in military uniforms and armed with AK-47 rifles came and started shooting.

"Igbinovia shouted that he had been hit. By the time the other vigilantes returned, he was already down. The soldiers killed him and went away with the two robbers. Robbers, most of whom are Hausas, usually operate there. They keep their cows by the roadside, block the road and start robbing."

Mistaken identity – Army

While reacting to the incident, the spokesperson for the 4 Brigade Command of the Nigerian Army, Captain Mohammed Maidawa, said Igbinovia's shooting was an accident.

He reported that troops had been deployed to the community in response to the same armed robbery complaint and had mistaken the victim to be a perpetrator of the attack because he was armed.

He said, "Troops deployed in Ologbo for pipeline protection received information of a suspected armed robbery close to their location. They were mobilised to the scene and engaged armed men at the scene.

"Unfortunately, one person, who was later identified as a vigilante, was killed. Preliminary investigation revealed that the vigilance group also responded to a distress call on the robbery. It was a case of mistaken identity. We are going to get in touch with the bereaved family."

Police investigating incident

According to the Edo State Commissioner of Police, Johnson Kokumo, the police is already investigating the incident.

He said, "It is an allegation we are investigating. Actually, one of the vigilance members died in the course of duty."

He also revealed that herdsmen had blocked the expressway and two of them are already in police custody being interrogated.

Curated: Meets Media.ng

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Local AFP is a Reporter at Meets Media, a digital journalist who reports on News and some other section of our website.

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