No fewer than 15 persons on Friday evening reportedly sustained varying degrees of injuries during a clash between men of the Nigerian Army and police officers from the Oba Market Police Station in Benin, the Edo State capital.
A pregnant woman was also said to be among the injured in the clash, which occurred near the market located at the city centre, forcing residents and shops owners in the area to flee in different directions for safety, as tear gas canisters and several shots were fired during fight.
Many residents were said to have been injured in a stampede and from inhaling the tear gas.
Trouble was said to have started when 10 policemen allegedly beat up two soldiers to stupor at a traffic point at Ibiwe junction, close to the Oba Market station.
Some eyewitnesses said the action of the policemen followed the alleged assault of a female traffic warden for allegedly preventing the soldiers from driving through the heavy traffic.
One of the soldiers was said to have repeatedly slapped the woman until some policemen intervened, resulting in a free-for-all.
A soldier was said to have been detained as a result of the incident, a situation which reportedly led some soldiers, in over seven patrol vans, to invade the police station, forcing the policemen in the station to lock themselves inside the station while business owners locked their shops to prevent looting.
The soldiers were said to have stopped their over two-hour siege to the police station at about 6.20pm, following the intervention of top police officers in the state.
The spokesman for the Nigerian Army, 4 Brigade, Captain Jonah Unuakhalu, told our correspondent that the command was not involved in the clash, adding that the issue had been resolved with the Divisional Police Officer of the station.
“It has been resolved amicably,” he said.
Calls to the telephone set of the state Police Public Relations Officer, Stephen Onwochei, could not connect as it indicated that the set could not be reached.