A police officer attached to the Delta State Police Command died after her colleague shot her in a bid to disperse a crowd of unarmed protesting women in Bonsaac area of Asaba, the state capital.
The police later blamed the attack on the protesting traders whom they arrested in their hundreds.
Sources said that the trigger-happy police officer went berserk during the protest by some traders in the area and wanted to disperse them with force when the gun went straight to her colleague.
It was learnt that four policemen were drafted from the “B” Division to quell the protest against a self imposed chairman of the petty traders in the area.
Trouble started in the area as the self imposed chairman of landlords, simply identified as Bidi, tried to evict the petty market women from their rented plot of land set up with caravans where they paid the owner of the land about N2,000 per month as rent for each container.
“He brought a bulldozer and connived with the Divisional Police Officer, DPO in-charge of ‘B’ Division who deployed four armed police officers to the premises of the plot to supervise the pulling down of the hapless women’s caravans.
“Having pulled down the source of their daily bread, which was neither obstructing vehicles nor water flow, the women demanded that the caravan at the landlord’s premises be pulled down too because he had informed them that the demolition was authorised by the Delta State Ministry of Environment.”
The source further revealed that following the persistence of the women for thorough demolition including that of the chairman’s, “the police officers who were working on a directive, tried to use firearms to scare them away but the bullet went off and hit his fellow police officer who died afterwards.”
According to our source, one of the cops went berserk and opened fire on the protesters but unfortunate for him, a female colleague got hit by the bullet and died instantly.
It was gathered that the police in the area, following the sad incident re-enforced their men and stormed the market where they indiscriminately arrested dozen of women whom they cramped into detention cell at the command’s headquarters in Asaba.
“No fewer than eleven petty traders were said to have been arrested while several others fled the area to avoid the wrath of the operatives”, an eyewitness who preferred anonymity said.
Police source on Monday, however disclosed that three of the arrested petty traders have been released as at the time of filing this report on Monday.
The suspected killer cop, it was learnt, is now cooling his heels at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID).
Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Adeyinka Adeleke who confirmed the death of his officer to newsmen on Monday, simply said the “case was under investigation with SCID.”