It was a “Black Christmas” in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital following the inadvertent killing of a police officer by a fellow policeman during a gun duel between the police and suspected cultists.
An eyewitness who preferred anonymity told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday that the incident occurred on Christmas day at Obele Area of Ovom in Yenagoa, leaving residents in apprehension.
According to the eyewitness, trouble started when a misunderstanding among the feasting cultists degenerated to a fight, resulting in gunshots which eventually attracted a police patrol team to the area.
The Police Command Spokesman, DSP Asinim Butswat, who confirmed the incident, said the killing was shocking.
“Yes, the incident was between cultists but as the police went to find out what was going on, the cultists started shooting and one of the policemen mistakenly shot an officer.
“Though, we are yet to get the full details because some of our men, who were at the scene, are supposed to brief us on the matter.
“Nevertheless, the Police are intensifying efforts to ensure a crime-free environment for people in Bayelsa this period of Christmas celebration; we deployed over 4,000 personnel for patrol.
“We adopted some strategies like ‘Cordon and Search’; I must tell you, our men and women are fully on operations to safeguard lives and property,” Butswat said.
The spokesman urged the residents to continue with their lawful endeavours and support the police by providing timely and credible information on criminal activities.
“I also urge them to continue to enjoy the Christmas celebration and steer clear of every criminal activity,” he said.
NAN recalls that an armed robbery suspect had also on Dec. 22, killed his fellow robber at a robbery operation around Azikoro village, Yenagoa and eventually turned himself in at Azikoro Police Station.