Pandemonium broke out penultimate Tuesday at the popular Atta Junction in the Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State, when a police officer mysteriously collapsed and died in a clash between the police and military personnel over arrest of crime suspects.
On-lookers raised eyebrows at the death of the policeman who did not participate in the ensuing fisticuffs but had a bet with one of the soldiers that the arrested persons must get to the police station, fueling speculations that someone had used “black magic’ on him.
According to eye witness account, the officer, said to be a member of the anti-crime squad who came to effect the arrests, was walking towards their waiting van as the fight raged on when he suddenly developed a fit and collapsed. He hit his head on the tarred road and died instantly.
He was instantly bundled into the van and driven off.
The incident attracted a large crowd prompting the arrival of police Rescue Team that threw tear gas canisters to disperse the surging crowd.
A 60-year-old eyewitness told Christian Voice that the police had arrived in a Hilux van and arrested five persons, with one in handcuffs. The arrested persons complained that they had been picked earlier and had been asked to go. They wondered why the fresh arrest.
According to our source, the argument led to a free-forall fight and the combatants alerted their respective authorities who sent troops to bring the situation under control.
The source described the fracas, in which the military was said to have had the upper hand, as an entertainment in acrobatics and karate which left officers sprawling on the ground with their uniforms torn to streets.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, DSP Vitalis Anugu, confirmed that men of the command had gone to effect arrest of suspected criminals but were intercepted by the military personnel from the 34 field Artillery Brigade, Obinze.
He said that the soldiers had released the suspects and taken the one in handcuffs away, only to release him to the police after authorities had intervened.
Anugu said that investigations had begun on the incident.