The family of Okwuonu Moses of Mgbarakuma, Ubakala in Umuahia South Local Government Area of Abia State was yesterday thrown into mourning as their daughter Kasarachi, a fruit seller at the Apumiri market, Ubakala was hit by a bullet, resulting in her death.
Narrating the incident to journalists in his office, the Abia State commissioner of police, Mr Ene Okon, said, “I received the brief to the effect that there was a distress call at the dustbin area of Ubakala, then SARS attached to Ubakala responded to the distress call and discovered that armed robbers numbering five using a Toyota RAV4 and in army camouflage were carrying out robbery at the point.
“On sighting the SARS Team, the gang opened fire and SARS operatives exchanged fire with the robbers. In the exchange of fire a stray bullet hit the victim who was rushed to the hospital and was confirmed dead later. “
Okon said the Toyota Sienna van used by the SARS operatives was also riddled with bullets. According to him, “there was nothing like accidental discharge or direct firing at the victim.”
The CP disclosed that he has constituted a panel from the State CID to investigate the circumstances that led to the death of the victim.
However, witness, who craved anonymity, told our correspondent that the SARS operatives usually harass and arbitrarily arrest commercial cyclists in the area once it is late.
He alleged that in the process, some of them would be arrested and detained only for them to be bailed with huge sums of money ranging from N30,000 to N50,000.
According to his account, it was in the process of extorting the commercial motorcycle operators that one of the policemen released the bullet that killed Kasarachi. The source said the deceased was coming out of a nearby filling station where she had gone to pack her wares at the end of the day’s business that she was hit by the bullet.
“There was no robbery at all. We saw what happened and we can identify the policeman who pulled the trigger, “ he said.