Soldiers Shoot, Kill Footballer in Bayelsa

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Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa

Soldiers attached to the Joint Military Task Force, Operation Delta Safe, OPDS, have allegedly shot dead Joseph Izu, a footballer with Shooting Stars of Ibadan, Oyo State, who was in the state to visit his siblings at Okakhi, said to be a border town between Bayelsa and Rivers States.

The incident which took place on Monday heightened tension in Okakhi, the community where the deceased hailed from and was killed, with restive youths expressing anger over the killing.

The soldiers were said to have been on a raid of parts of the community in search of suspected militants when the encounter that led to the death of the central defender who moved from Bayelsa United Football Club took place.

Izu, it was gathered, was on break after helping his club, Shooting stars FC up the league table in the 2015/2016 season of the Nigerian Professional Football League in which Enugu Rangers emerged champions.

A source said he died after he was shot three times by the soldiers in the community in which he also owned a house. “He was an easy going person loved by many in the area”, a friend of the dead footballer said.

The incident reportedly occurred on Sunday evening, throwing the area into pandemonium, while soldiers shot in the air intermittently to keep residents indoors.

A friend of the footballer, who identified himself as Nyieye, said the deceased along with an unidentified number of friends in the community were shot dead in retaliation as some of the community youths “angered” the troops a day before the occurrence.