Police, Air Force Clash in Delta

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Sylvester Idowu in Warri
It was a war-like scene at Jeddo in Okpe Local Government Area of Delta State as operatives of the Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU) of the police and personnel of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) engaged each other in a gun duel over an alleged assault on the daughter of an officer.

THISDAY findings revealed that the exchange of the gun battle, which lasted for several hours, forced residents to escape into the bush due to the only one route to the community.

 Several people, it was gathered, sustained various degrees of injuries as they struggled to escape from the exchanges of flying bullets from both the air force and the police.

Security sources told THISDAY that the incident, which occured on Monday night, started when an argument ensued between a CTU operative and a lady which resulted in the policeman slapping her.
Unknown to the policeman, the lady is a daughter of an air force personnel who returned home and reported the incident to her father.

It was gathered that the angry air force officer mobilised his colleagues and stormed the scene where the policeman, realising later that the girl is a daughter of an officer, also reinforced his men to counter prevocation.
Security sources disclosed that the air force, personnel on arriving at the scene, opened fire which was replied by the police special squad with people scampering for safety.

“This incident started at about 8p.m and lasted till about 10p.m. It seems the two security agencies have been waiting for an opportunity to size each other up considering that they are neighbours sharing same fence. They drink together in nearby joints too. So I wonder why they couldn’t settle the dispute amicably”, a security source said.

 Alhough no life was lost in the incident, several people, including the personnel of the two agencies, sustained injuries while several vehicles were vandalised and make shift houses of traders were destroyed.

 When THISDAY visited the area yesterday, it was observed that the community was deserted as residents were yet to return home with the fear of a renewed clash between the two security agencies.

 It was also gathered that the Area Commander of the Police in charge of Warri, Mohammed Shaba, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) met with the new Commanding Officer of NAF for several hours to find a lasting solution to the clash.

 “I am in a meeting over the clash. I cant talk on it. It is the Commander of the Nigerian Airforce that call talk on it”, he said on phone. Delta State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Zanna said he was not aware of the incident but promised to investigate and get back to THISDAY. He didn’t as at the time of filing this report.