SaharaReporters gathered that the tragic event happened after soldiers posted to guard a Lebanese expatriate issued an order banning all forms of vehicular movements with the exception of motorcycles that convey school children across the Ughelli Bridge. The order was to enable smooth operations by Setraco Construction workers constructing the Ughelli market bridge.
An ‘Okada’ rider who witnessed the incident described how it happened to SaharaReporters. “Following the ban by the soldiers, the Okada rider who was carrying a female passenger, passed the barricade setup by the soldiers. Midway into the bridge, he was asked by one of the soldiers to reverse. The Okada rider began to appeal that since he was already midway into the bridge, the soldier should allow him through. While the conversation was going on, the infuriated soldier flogged the Okada rider with his horsewhip. In a swift reaction the Okada man came down from his motorcycle. In the process of taking off his helmet, it mistakenly hit the soldier on the arm.”
According to the eyewitness, “Once the helmet mistakenly hit his hand, the already angered soldier cocked his rifle threatening to shoot. On realizing what was happening, the Okada rider protested by holding the rifle to prevent the soldier from shooting him. On seeing what was happening, another soldier from the corner fired at the Okada rider on the chest but the bullet missed its target. Immediately, another shot was fired at the Okada rider on the head and he died instantly. A bystander at the scene named Felix was also hit by a stray bullet on the side.”
Several eyewitnesses told SaharaReporters that the soldiers took to their heels on realizing what they had done. However, they returned a few minutes later with a larger number and carried the injured Felix to a hospital and the corpse to the Ughelli police station. The soldiers also hurriedly covered the pool of blood on the ground with sand.
A correspondent of SaharaReporters who arrived at the scene around 9 a.m. observed that the murder spot had been covered with sand. A police source stated that the corpse had been taken to the morgue of an undisclosed hospital.
More soldiers had also been drafted to the scene, and movement in the market area reduced to the barest minimum. Pedestrians walking across the bridge were ordered to raise their hands above their heads.
A member of the community told SaharaReporters that tension had risen in the area as some youths have vowed to avenge the gruesome murder of one of their number by soldiers.
Source: Sahara Reporters