Tragedy struck in Ikwo community of Ebonyi State on Thursday when a 30-year-old resident, Obinna Igwe, was shot dead while two others sustained gunshot injuries when a fracas broke out during a football match.
The violence was said to have broken out between football fans and some policemen.
Two police officers deployed to the venue of the match held at Urban Secondary School Ndufu Echara Ikwo were also injured during the incident.
The football match was the climax of the Unity Cup competition between Ndufu Alike and Ndufu Echara Teams organised by the Chairman of Ikwo Local Government Area, Elder John Nnabo.
An eyewitness, who preferred anonymity, told our correspondent that trouble started when the centre referee issued a red card to an Ndufu Alike player which eventually resulted in his team conceding a goal in the second half.
He narrated that the development did not go down well with the dismissed player as he returned to the pitch and launched an attack on the referee along with other players on the bench.
The witness alleged that the incident resulted in a rampage. Some youths of Ikwo community engaged law enforcement agents in a showdown, until some public office holders in the area intervened.
Reacting to the development, a resident, Mr Onyekachi Nwoba, condemned the use of live ammunition by the police, pointing out that their action was not in line with the rules of engagement.
When contacted, the Ebonyi State Police Public Relations Officer, Lovet Odah, alleged that the victim was killed when the rampaging youth attempted to snatch a rifle from one of the policemen.
The News Agency of Nigeria quoted Odah as saying that several people were injured during the fracas on Thursday.
“The Ikwo Police Division received a distress call that the fans were assaulting the referee and our officers led by the Divisional Police Officer rushed to the match venue.
“When they tried to rescue the referee from the fans’ onslaught, the fans left the referee and started attacking our officers.
“They started struggling with officers’ rifles and when they collected one, the DPO fired into the air to scare them and save his officers.
“One person was incidentally shot during the melee as the fans thoroughly prepared to attack us by arming themselves with dangerous weapons.”
SOURCE: PUNCH NEWS